Chomping depression away: lessons from hungry caterpillars (part 1- Banana)

Mar 06 2010 Published by under Decision, Determination, Information, Inspiration

I’ve decided to dedicate a few posts to evaluating and promoting some good-mood food.

Are you are familiar with caterpillars and their eating habits or at least Eric Carle’s classic book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”? They are very fussy and picky in what they eat, but once they find the ‘good stuff’, they eat loads and at an amazing rate!

Today’s good stuff for you to consider is:


They coming from the world’s largest herb and were supposedly brought to the western world by Alexander the Great. This inexpensive and widely available fruit is good enough for the king… or even the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who has recently replaced his Kit-Kats with bananas!

The power of bananas lies in their nutritional value.

Bananas contain sucrose, fructose and glucose (all three are natural sugars) that deliver an instant and substantial boost of energy. Eating a banana first thing in the morning could be a great new dietary habit.

Moreover, bananas’ richness in potassium helps to combat tiredness and muscle ache, which many depression sufferers experience upon awakening.

Vitamins C, A and E, found in bananas, boost your immunity, which is often low when your moods are low. B-complex vitamins (especially B6) alleviate stress and calm your nerves down.

Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady, so having a banana before your crisps may be a new step in the right direction towards your healthy eating.

The most exciting claim of all is that bananas contain an amino acid, tryptophan. It is claimed to assist the production of the serotonin in the brain, lifting your mood and reducing your irritability.

I found some claims that the secret healing power of bananas is concentrated in their skin and we should all eat bananas with the skin on.

I don’t know about you, but Kevin Spacey’s character in the movie ‘K-Pax’ has spoiled this idea for me. If anyone can convince me that this is the right way to consume bananas, please do. For now, I will model the primates, who peel their bananas before eating.

How many bananas should we eat daily? It is up to you, but 2-3 a day seems reasonable to me. Apparently, excessive bananas consumption (a bunch a day, every day!) can lead to potassium build up, which can lead to some health problems. So be sensible and don’t go completely bananas!

PS. I found a reference to a health warning on combining bananas with MAOI (Monoamine-oxidase inhibitor) types of antidepressants. Ask your doctor if it applies to you and let us all know if this is true!

PPS. There is a great site for banana bread recipes: The Best Banana Bread Recipes

Photo by: 123RF Stock Photos

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