Friday, April 30, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
We have all heard the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you know why? Obviously, food is fuel and energy for our bodies and without it we spend the day stumbling around in a fog and fighting off a headache and a bad attitude. Breakfast is literally just that, breaking the fast that your body is in from the night before.
Some people consider a cup of coffee and or a cigarette their breakfast....not good. While others must have something to eat immediately upon waking up and stumble into the kitchen to get that bowl of cereal before doing anything else, you know who you are! Remember, "Wheaties the breakfast of champions"? We did believe this for so long, because that is what the manufacturer told us.
I have never been a "breakfast person", in fact in the morning I do not just sit down to have something to eat. I have my morning ritual of tasks that must be completed. So several years ago, I got in the habit of grabbing my banana and eating on the run. I really did not know just how good for me this little breakfast ritual was. Now, I will say that I don't mind on occasion sitting down to a big breakfast, or omelet stuffed with all kinds of good veggies....however this would not be a typical start of the day for me.
So back to why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The consumption of an early morning snack increases the metabolic rate (how fast you burn calories) and kick starts your body into gear, telling it what to expect the rest of the day. If breakfast isn't eaten, your body doesn't process your next meal as quickly and tries to hold onto those nutrients. Since it didn't get any morning fuel, it tries to hold onto the afternoon meal as long as possible — instead of burning it right away.
Studies have shown that weight loss can be more difficult and weight gain more prevalent in folks who opt out on the morning meal. Those who skip breakfast have a tendency to consume more food than usual the next chance they get to grab a bite to eat and also have a higher tendency to snack on high-calorie foods to keep hunger at bay until then.
Just last week I received an "email forward", you know what I mean, we all get hundreds of them weekly. This one however laid out the benefits of the banana. I was so impressed that I wanted to share this information here. (source of this article not available)
A good banana tip: Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!
This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.. Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber.
A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood. Anemia : High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief. Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation. Nerves:
Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system. Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips... Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady..
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan..
Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance.. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack. Strokes: 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%! Warts:
Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape! So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"
In my kitchen, my bananas are a staple. I always make sure that I do not run out of several things from the grocery store.....dog food, coffee, toilet paper and my bananas. Anyone entering my home will always find my bunch of bananas sitting on my counter.
A banana a day keeps the doctor away!
Bananas, the breakfast of champions!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Make a difference by leaving things a little better then you found them. A kind word or gesture goes a long way and often costs only a few minutes of your time. Whenever it feels like you have nothing to offer, remember that even the smallest favor can affect someones life in ways you could never anticipate.