Banana is the fruit which has come to my rescue time and again. I vote it’s the perfect fruit for today’s efficacious lifestyle.

Need a chipper? energy-rush on the run? Turn to the banana. Need to whip up the quickest shake? Blend a banana in milk. Want to begin weaning your baby? Soften a banana and feed your little darling. Here’s the ideal fruit for birthday parties and picnics and just about any occasion — sweet, easy to carry around and healthy to the core.

Experts have deemed that a high potassium intake may decrease the risk of death from all causes by 20pc and that may be enough reason to incorporate this potassium-packed fruit in your diet. But there are a myriad of other benefits concealed beneath the bright yellow peel of the banana.

A healthy energy dose

You can actually feel an energy-rush when you munch on firm yet creamy banana flesh. That is the reason fitness freaks will eat two bananas before a workout to boost themselves with energy and keep blood sugar levels up. Bananas also help to protect against muscle cramps during workouts and even night-time leg cramps.

The happy fruit

Bananas keep you upbeat and help overcome depression. That’s because they possess tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — which is the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter. Consequently, you can ward off your bad moods, Seasonal Affective Disorders and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana — that’s because this fruit regulates blood sugar and relieves stress. They even soothe morning sickness during pregnancy.

Your heart’s best friend

Called the potassium super-fruit, bananas are a sure-shot and proven source of lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart attack and stroke. For maintenance of blood pressure, not only do doctors recommend a low sodium intake but a high potassium consumption. This combined with fibre, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas are all ideal for sound heart health.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away but a banana is certainly a close contender

A smarter you

Try eating a banana before an exam or presentation. The potassium levels in a banana will make you alert, sharper and smarter.

You tummy’s trouble-shooter

The pectin and digestive enzymes in a banana aids digestion and gently flush out toxins and heavy metals from the body. Come loose motions or constipation, a banana will do the trick. Not only do bananas sooth an aggravated digestive tract and help restore electrolytes. As a natural prebiotic and antacid, bananas help foster friendly bacteria in the bowel and soothe stomach ulcers, heart burn and reflux.

A diet food

If you’re watching your weight and still crave a sugar rush, turn to the sweetness of a banana. This low-calorie fruit also contains soluble fibre that helps slow your digestion which makes you feel satiated so you gorge less.

Stress buster

A sufficient potassium intake can help you regulate your heartbeat. This in turn helps send enough oxygen to your brain, maintain your water balance throughout the body and keep an ideal metabolic rate in check. All this in turn helps you feel less stress.

An eye full

Being a primary source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, bananas help to maintain the structures that bring light into the cornea so that your sense of sight is more effective.

Apart from these stunning assets, bananas are great for overall health as the vitamin C in bananas can help prevent the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer and its high fibre lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Its iron content can help the anaemic as it stimulates the production of haemoglobin and its ability to counteract calcium loss during urination helps build strong bones. Eating a banana can even lower the body temperature on a hot day and cool you during a fever.

Is there anything a banana can’t do? Certainly, this is a fruit which is definitely not just for the monkeys.

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine November 22nd, 2015