Food for Thought: Bananas!
Bananas are nutritional powerhouses, containing every essential nutrient required for human health (except vitamin D). A single medium banana contains 105 calories, 1.3 grams of protein, 27.0 grams of carbohydrates, 3.1 grams of fiber, and 0.4 grams of fat. Packed within that same banana is a whopping 422 mg of potassium, B complex vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and all essential amino acids. Bananas are also an excellent source of soluble fiber and prebiotics, easing digestion and providing nourishment to the probiotic bacteria of the colon. When combined with a low fat, plant-based diet, regular banana consumption can contribute to weight management (fat loss), electrolyte balance, improved digestion, protection against chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes, cancer), blood sugar regulation, increased energy levels, and improved immune function.
Bananas thrive in tropical locations, and can be found growing in areas such as Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Several varieties of bananas exist including the cavendish (most popular), red banana, lady finger, and plantain.
Once your bananas are ripe, they are perfect for eating or freezing for later use. For freezing, unpeel banans, break into quarters and place in a plastic baggie or container. Bananas make great bases for smoothies, milk (banana/s blended with water), and other desserts including pies, pudding, cakes, muffins, ice cream, and fruit salads. Mashed banana also makes an excellent food choice for infants, toddlers, or those with compromised digestion.
Many on a low fat, plant-based diet make bananas a staple food due to their accessibility and low cost. A great tip for success is to get a 40 lb. box (standard shipping size) of bananas each week. This will ensure that you will always have ripe bananas available and ready to eat! Call ahead to see if your grocer offers wholesale prices on bulk banana buys :)
Eat bananas for vitality, health, and longevity!
Recipe: Soft Serve Berry Banana Ice Cream
3 or more frozen bananas
1/2 cup water (use more if needed)
1 cup frozen berries (optional)
fresh berries (topping, optional)
Food Processor or High Speed Blender
Place frozen bananas in Food Processor or High Speed Blender. Add water and blend until smooth and creamy (usually takes about 5 minutes). Blend in frozen berries if desired. Once smooth and creamy (no chunks), top with fresh berries. Enjoy!