Go Bananas

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/283259/go-bananas.The simple banana has a variety of uses, finds out Radha Prathi

An Indian festival, function or even a fast is incomplete without the omnipresent banana! The tropical fruit comes in a variety of lengths, tastes and flavours, depending on the region it is grown. The fruit spells a sense of abundance and silently spreads the message of sharing because it does not have a very long shelf life especially when it is ripe.

The omnipresence of bananas in the Indian diet can be attributed to the fact that it is available right round the year. Science has unraveled the mystery of the popularity of this fruit in its own way. The fruit is a rich source of fibre and is a storehouse of three types of natural sugars — sucrose, fructose and glucose and plenty of Vitamin B. In other words it is an instant energy booster.

The presence of tryptophan in bananas can help the consumer relax and even overcome depression if taken regularly. At times consuming a couple of them can translate it into a mini meal by itself.

* The banana consumed as a fruit or as an ingredient in a recipe can work wonders on the human body and the mind.
* Bananas house the mineral iron; they can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and can help in cases of anaemia.
* The presence of high potassium and low salt content in the fruit helps in maintaining a balanced blood pressure.
* The presence of fibre in the fruit ensures regular bowel movements.
* A banana milkshake, sweetened with honey can make a hangover vanish and can replenish depleted blood sugar at a magical pace besides rejuvenating the system.
* Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body and can be instrumental in alleviating heartburns. Mothers-to-be can circumvent inconveniences of morning sickness and also maintain blood sugar levels by snacking on bananas between meals.
* The persistent itching and sometimes the swelling caused by mosquito bites can be effaced by rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin.
*  People who have resolved to give up smoking will do well to eat bananas at regular intervals for it has been found that it helps the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
* According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40 per cent.
* The inside of a banana skin can prove to be an excellent face pack for it can cure acne and warts efficiently. You could either rub the inside of the skin vigorously onto your face and neck or very simply hold the banana peel in place with a plaster or surgical tape.

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