Brain Food Alternatives for a Bananaless Future

When it was exam time at high school, my mother would always shove a banana in my mouth as I walked out the door.

It’s brain food,’ she’d yell after me. ‘Good luck with your exam.’

This was always hor­ri­fy­ing for two rea­sons. Firstly, how could I pos­si­bly do well on my exams when I’d been study­ing for them all year with­out brain food? And sec­ondly, I now had banana breath. Which, con­trary to pop­u­lar unbe­lief, is almost as bad as gar­lic breath. An acci­den­tal banana-breath whif­fer will invol­un­tar­ily recoil from the pun­gent odour of dry, stringy, fruit-flesh. Thus, at a time when my hor­mones were most hormy, any notion of high-school romance was dis­pelled. A shame, because right before an exam is when peo­ple think only of love, lust and hormyness.

The big, fat bully-of-a-storm Cyclone Yasi caused wide­spread dam­age in North Queens­land this week and wiped out many of the banana plan­ta­tions that sup­ply 90% of Australia’s bananas. And while it’s ter­ri­ble when homes and schools and busi­nesses are destroyed by nat­ural dis­as­ters like Yasi, it’s often the long-term affects of dis­as­ters that jog into our mem­o­ries in later years.

For exam­ple, one of the main asso­ci­a­tions that come with Cyclone Larry, which hit North Queens­land in 2006, is that it caused banana scarcity for quite some time. When Vic­to­ri­ans think back to the Esso Long­ford gas explo­sion of 1998 that cut off the state’s main sup­ply of gas, it’s hard to not recall the weeks there­after of cold show­ers. And think­ing back to 2008, when Hawthorn won the AFL pre­mier­ship, the asso­ci­a­tion is one of absolute blank­ness. It’s hard to remem­ber that it even hap­pened. But it did. Check for your­self.

So as the north­ern state cleans up after Cyclone Yasi, one of the long-term asso­ci­a­tions we’ll have with this cyclone looks set to be That Time After That Other Cyclone When There Were No Bananas Again.

What will we do for brain food in the com­ing banana drought, then? It’s the potas­sium in bananas that makes them so good for the brain. It aids the sup­ply of oxy­gen to the brain and helps with clearer think­ing and bet­ter recall. Although not when it comes to that 2008 grand final, which was won by…well, who­ever it was.

Sur­viv­ing the banana drought sim­ply means upping our intake of other foods that are rich with potas­sium. That’s right, there’s more than just one brain food out there. Here are some you could try first thing in the morn­ing to stim­u­late your brain for the day ahead:


It has three times as much potas­sium as bananas, it looks awe­some when you drip it from a spoon and it’s just like eat­ing maple syrup pan­cakes, with­out the pan­cakes and with maple syrup that’s ten times stronger than usual.


It’s twice as good for the brain as a banana and is pretty much the same as drink­ing a tomato juice in the morn­ing. Except it’ll taste more like a cold lasagne miss­ing a few key ingredients.


No need to bake it into cook­ies or muffins. Just a table­spoon of this stuff before walk­ing out the door of a morn­ing will make for a day of clear think­ing, pro­duc­tiv­ity and using your tongue to clean bits of bran out from between your teeth.

Sure, there are other brain foods, high in potas­sium, that you could also indulge in – like apri­cots, sul­tanas and raisins. But you’d prob­a­bly eat those fruits any­way. Replac­ing bananas will require some think­ing out­side the square. A con­cept for which brain food will def­i­nitely be required, so that we can wrap our brain-heads around it.



You make me smile, Andrew McDonald.

BTW I’ve got banana breath RIGHT NOW and I’m breath­ing in your direc­tion. Urgh!


it was ade­laide in 1998. they beat north mel­bourne. remem­ber? we had no hot water and ade­laide won. worth blank­ing out. but just to rejog for you; ade­laide won in 1998. over north mel­bourne. in the grand final.
mov­ing on.

Ooops, that was sup­posed to be 2008 not 1998. I have changed it. Now the joke makes more sense. And I don’t have to think about that ter­ri­ble 1998 grand final *Tear*.


O.o And here I thought bananas made my breath smell tooti frooti and fresh. No won­der no one would talk to me after eat­ing that banana split.


Til this day I still have to have a banana before any exams and inter­views. We are cursed.