Since everyone enjoyed yesterday’s post on apples I thought I woudl stick with that theme and move on to my second favorite fruit…the banana!
The banana is a fruit that is mostly sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and fiber. So it is perfect for an immediate source of energy. Bananas also can help in the following ways:
• Constipation: bananas have a high fiber content which helps restore normal bowel function. They also contain soluble fiber, pectin, which can help normalize movement through the digestive tract.
• Healthy Bones: bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound that nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. As the probiotic bacteria increases it helps our body’s ability to absorb calcium.
• Blood Pressure: bananas are extremely high in potassium AND yet very low in sodium, therefore having a perfect ratio for preventing high blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration have just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
• Heartburn: bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana before reaching for the Tums.
• Smoking: bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. They contain vitamins B6 and B12 they contain, as well as potassium and magnesium: these substances have shown to help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
• Nerves: bananas are high in B vitamins that have been shows to improve nerve function
• Mosquito Bites: many people report that rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite is very effective in reducing itching and swelling
• Stress Relief: bananas are high in potassium, which helps normalize the heartbeat and regulate the body’s water balance. During periods of high stress, our body’s potassium levels tend to be rapidly depleted: eating bananas is a healthy way to rebalance.
BUYING AND STORING BANANAS
Bananas should be slightly firm and bright in appearance and you should avoid bananas that are bruised or do not have stems attached. Since bananas ripen quickly at room temperature, it is best to buy bananas when they are still slightly green depending on how soon you are going to need them. To speed up the ripening process you can place them in a paper or plastic bag. Do not store unripe (greener) bananas in the refrigerator because cold temperatures prevent bananas from ripening. However, once your bananas have reached your desired level of ripeness, they can be stored in the refrigerator. When stored in the refrigerator, the skins of bananas will turn darker but the flesh will not affected. Bananas can also be frozen for up to two months. Simply remove the peel and wrap in plastic wrap before freezing.
Green tipped bananas are good to cook.
Yellow bananas are best eaten raw.
Brown specked bananas taste best when baked with bread, muffins or cookies.
Do you like bananas? What is your favorite way to eat them?
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