The humble banana, this sweet delicacy of a fruit is not only good on your favorite oatmeal dish, protein smoothies, and Heaven forbid, banana splits, but packs much more than meets the eye in that slender little peel. Let’s take a closer look.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF THE BANANA
The banana contains a significant amount of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, magnesium, and Vitamin B6.
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fiber: 3 grams (16% of RDA) - Carbohydrates: 27 grams
- Sugars: 24 grams
- Magnesium: 43 grams
- Potassium: 460 milligrams
Keep in mind, nutritional values and components can change based on the type of banana being consumed.
WHAT CAN A BANANA DO?
1. The natural sugar in a banana can help hypoglycemics who are experiencing low blood sugar, as the natural sugar of the banana is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. It’s positive blood sugar effects can last for up to two hours.
2. A banana is quite filling, with typically under 100 calories. If you have a glass of water 20 minutes before ingesting a medium size banana, it can hold you over until your next meal.
3. Can help symptoms of diarrhea, and similar digestive upset, particularly when combined with rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT). This combination (BRAT) of foods has been used for a long, long, time for loose stools, with great success, be it child or adult.
4. Sports enthusiasts and athletes both claim the potassium and magnesium in bananas help to relieve muscle cramps, and symptoms related to lactic acid.
5. Potassium levels in bananas are a support to the heart, nerves, kidneys, and bones. 6. Carbohydrates in bananas give us energy.
7. Can help reduce feelings of depression, as bananas contain tryptophan, which causes relaxation, and improves mood.
8. Can help alleviate ulcer symptoms, as bananas neutralize acids in the stomach.
The nice thing about bananas is they are so readily available. When purchasing bananas, look for evenly colored peels, no bruising, or tender spots. Bananas can be stored at room temperature, although many like to refrigerate them. Bananas can be peeled and placed into freezer bags for use in smoothies, your favorite protein shake, or a cold snack on a hot day. The greener the banana, the more starch it contains. The best time to eat a banana is when little specks begin to appear, as this is when the banana is full of enzymes, and less starch, making it easier to break down and assimilate.
TYPES OF BANANAS
Plantain: Salmon colored pulp, a cheesy, gummy like texture, and tastes slightly acid. It’s been used as a staple in many countries as a substitute for bread and potatoes.
Gros Michel: Is the most popular of many varieties, because it produces the largest , most compact bunch.
Claret: Sometimes referred to as the ‘red’ banana, with a gummy flesh.
Lady Finger: The smallest variety, which also has the sweetest flavor.
Apple: Yes, a banana called Apple, too funny. It ‘s slightly acidic, with a faint apple taste.
WHAT ABOUT THE PEEL - IS IT OF ANY VALUE?
Many claim it is. When using the peel, the benefits will always be found on the inside of the peel. If you had a mosquito bite, you’d gently rub and/or place the inside of the peel atop the bite.
Here’s what you can do with a banana peel, place it on:
2. Bug bites
4. Poison ivy
5. Dry scaly skin
7. Wrinkles around the eyes.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BANANAS
Bananas are actually 75% water. Don’t believe me? Take a ripe banana and mash it in a bowl using a fork, you will see this compact mass turn into a watery solution before your very eyes.
In the tropics, bananas are often cooked and served with beans, rice, and/or tortillas. In Latin America, the banana is sliced when ripe and left in the sun until covered with a white coating, which comes from the fruits own juices.
There you have it, the banana, a common staple in many households. Now that you know there are several varieties of bananas, and have an idea of how to use them, be creative and try something new!!!