We eat a ton of bananas at our house. I once brought home six bunches from the grocery store! They are definitely my favorite pre-run snack, and sometimes I eat two or three a day. My kids love them, too. Actually, Sam (#9) used to love them, but lately he’ll take one bite and then mash the rest between his fingers. I guess he likes the way it feels. I’m not sure whether bananas have “super fruit” status, but they are super in my book. Here are nine reasons you should be eating bananas:
1. Bananas increase energy. They are filled with natural sugars and are a great low-calorie carbohydrate.
2. Bananas help with digestion. They can lessen effects of constipation because they are high in fiber, and they can reverse the effects of diarrea because they help to retain electrolytes (they are part of the BRAT diet).
3. Bananas are a great anti-depressant. Ok, maybe not officially. But again, in my book they are. They contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin – the well known mood enhancing chemical. All I know is that when I eat a banana, I’m happy.
5. Everyone knows bananas have a ton of potassium, which is an electrolyte. They also contain the mineral manganese! Both of these are vital for cell functioning.
6. Bananas are full of vitamins B6 and C. I remember an older lady who I used to talk to after church who told me that mothers especially need plenty of vitamin B. She used to say, “When you feel a little down, pop those B’s!”. I figure I would rather not pop anything…I’ll just eat more bananas.
7. Bananas are full of anti-oxidants. Actually, the more ripe they are, the more anti-oxidant punch they give!
8. Bananas have only 1 gram of fat per 225 gram serving.
9. Bananas taste great! They have a cool texture too, soft and fun to eat. And because of their tough exterior peel, they travel well!
While summer fruits like plums, peaches, and grapes are my favorite, bananas are a fruit that’s available all year long. I think they should be given some credit for being around when those others aren’t, don’t you? I guess we can call them the reliable fruit! Since we buy so many bananas, we inevitably have some around that just get too brown for my taste. So we make a lot of banana bread! Here is a recipe that uses whole-wheat flour and applesauce for a healthy version of the original. We just made some yesterday and it is already gone…
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 egg whites
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 large)
1/4 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted*
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening, or spray with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In large bowl, beat sugar, oil, egg whites, bananas, milk, applesauce, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts. Spoon into pan.
Bake 8-inch loaf 55 to 62 minutes, 9-inch loaf 45 to 52 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour, before slicing.