One large banana, about 9 inches in length, packs 602 mg of potassium and has only 140 calories. That same banana also has 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The banana provides energy that can help us keep fit. Bananas can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions. Don't overlook bananas in your diet. Energy Because it contains three natural sugars, sucrose, fructose and glucose, combined with fibre, a banana gives us an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has shown 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. Depression According to a recent survey of people suffering from depression undertaken by MIND, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin. Serotonin is known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. PMS The vitamin B6 bananas contain regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood. Forget the pills -- eat a banana. Anemia Because bananas are high in iron, they can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and help prevent anemia. Blood Pressure The banana has the ability to ward off high blood pressure and stroke. This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it useful in lowering blood pressure. Brain Power Researchers working with 200 students at a Middlesex school showed that students did better on their exams by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch to boost their brain power. The potassium-packed banana can assist learning by making pupils more alert. Constipation Because they are high in fibre, bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action without the use of laxatives. Hangovers A quick cure for a hangover is 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 allays morning sickness and helps to keep blood sugar levels up. Mosquito bites If you have an insect bite, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation. Nerves The B vitamins in bananas help calm the nervous system. Overweight and stress 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 Bananas neutralize over-acidity and reduce irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. Temperature control Some 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) SAD sufferers can be helped by bananas, because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan. Smoking If you are trying to give up smoking, the vitamins B6 and B12 in bananas, as well as the potassium and magnesium, 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, and our potassium levels fall. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack. Strokes Eating bananas as part of a regular diet reduced the risk of death by strokes as much as 40%. 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 carbohydrates, 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 a good value at the market. Maybe we should say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!" Guess I'll be off shopping now.....bananas at the top of the list!!