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Why we're all going bananas

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By Kate Colquhoun Thursday June 14 2007

They're healthy, cheaper than ever and, believe it or not, they're not actually a fruit. Kate Colquhoun reports

The banana has never been a more popular part of our diet. We spend millions of euro every year on the curvy yellow herb. Yes! It's not, strictly speaking, a fruit at all. And according to reports this week, our favourite "fruit"' has never been cheaper.

The world's favourite "fruit" is now our most popular foodstuff, uniquely portable and with apparently legion health benefits. Rich in iron, it is the perfect prophylactic against anaemia and (if you can face it) rubbing the inside of its skin over your body is said to repel mosquitos. It may stave off depression, can mollify morning sickness and hangovers, and its B6 and B12 vitamins may even help you give up smoking. Old wives' tales would even have us believe that they can help us remember our dreams.

Researchers have now proved that just two bananas, packed with their three natural sugars - fructose, sucrose and glucose - plus their fibre and carbohydrate content, can provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout, delivering an instant, sustained and substantial boost with a trifling calorie count of 107. They are scoffed by tennis pros on centre court. Compared to the lunchtime apple, the banana is also more of a man-food.

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