A banana a day...

Bananas are usually harvested when green. In the shops you can usually find a range of colours from green to yellow, with brown spots. Your choice should be based on when you want to eat the banana: greener ones last more days, while yellow and brown-spotted bananas should be eaten in a few days.

When buying bananas they should be quite firm, bright, and the peel should not be crushed or cut. Their stems and tips should be intact. The size of the banana does not affect its quality, so just choose the size you prefer.

BananasAs bananas are very fragile and should be stored in a place where they will be protected. They should be stored at room temperature to allow for the ripening process to complete. Do not store in a refrigerator when they are green, or this will irreversibly interrupt the ripening process (and it will not revert even if they are kept at room temperature afterwards)

If you want to speed up ripening, wrap a banana in a piece of paper with an apple. While you should not keep green bananas in the fridge, it is actually a good idea to store ripe bananas there. Their peel will become progressively brown, but the pulp will not be affected. To improve the flavour, it is best to keep bananas at room temperature for a while.

If you wish to store bananas for a long time (up to 2 months), it is possible to freeze them. To do this, simply remove the peel and sprinkle some lemon juice over the pulp to prevent discoloration; then wrap them in plastic

Banana health benefits are comparable to any other type of fruit and can play an important part in your daily diet. Like other fruits and vegetables, bananas contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol. It is a known fact that a low fat, balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruit may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Bananas consist mainly of sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and fibre, which makes them ideal for an immediate and slightly, prolonged source of energy

Bananas contain relatively high amounts of iron, which helps in production of blood and its function.

Blood Pressure
Bananas are extremely high in potassium (about 4673mg), yet very low in sodium (1mg), thus having a perfect ratio for preventing high blood pressure.

Constipation And Diarrhoea
Bananas fibre content helps restore a normal bowel function. In addition, diarrhoea usually depletes your body of important electrolytes (of which the most important is potassium, contained in high amounts in bananas). They also contain pectin, a soluble fibre (hydrocolloid) that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract.

Bananas can help reduce depression as they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can be converted to serotonin, leading to improved mood.

Eyesight Protection
Research has proven that adults consuming at least 3 servings of fruit per day have a reduced risk (by 36%) of developing age-related macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

If you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Kidneys And Bones
Benefits to the kidneys and the bones are again due to the high potassium content of bananas. A normal intake of potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the urine and minimizes the risk of kidney stones. Also, for the same reason (suppressing of calcium excretion), it minimizes the loss of calcium from the body and thereby reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that have been shows to improve nerve function

Trying to give up smoking? Bananas contain vitamins B6 and B12 as well as potassium and magnesium: these substances help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.