What’s sweet, good for you, and comes in completely biodegradable packaging? Bananas, of course.
Don’t let June’s seasonal fruit distract you from picking up a bunch of firm yellow bananas when you’re out shopping. Bananas are in season too, and considering all the easy, no-cook ways to eat them, it’s a pity to pass them by.
Consider, too, what an incredible superfood the familiar banana is. Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral essential to keep blood pressure stable and your heart beating peacefully. Potassium is an electrolyte, a mineral important for healthy heart function and balance of water in the body. People on diuretics are often advised to eat a banana a day to replace potassium.
Banana’s high fiber content is another heart-health factor, especially combined with cereal fiber and foods high in magnesium. This wonder-fruit’s natural sweetness nourishes beneficial gut bacteria that help metabolize our food and boost calcium absorption. Think of home-made cornflakes with milk and a sliced banana. A breakfast like that helps make strong bones, moves digestion along, and keeps your heart fit. Not to mention that it’s quick to put together and tastes good.
Bananas are an antioxidant powerhouse with their high manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C content. A banana a day – together with an eco-conscious, well-rounded diet and exercise – can help keep the body fit to fight off stroke, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, osteoporosis and macular degeneration. That’s a lot of nutrition in one sweet package.
Buy bananas green to ripen in your kitchen (in summer heat, this might take only a day or two). But don’t store them in the fridge, because they will never ripen again. Ripe bananas may be refrigerated, but make sure to take them out to reach room temperature again before serving.
Here are some ways to get those delicious, life-enhancing bananas into your life:
- Blend up a morning smoothie with a banana, almond milk, and some honey or several pitted dates. For pizazz, drop two squares of fair-trade, 70% chocolate into the blender jar too.
- Add sliced bananas, walnuts and honey to any cereal, hot or cold. Or pancakes. Or simple crepes.
- Banana sandwiches aren’t only for kids. Make one on whole-wheat bread spread with cream cheese and sprinkle cinnamon over the bananas.
- Try bananas halved horizontally and spread with a good nut butter for a snack.
- An elegant, 1-minute dessert, good enough for company: a firm, ripe, peeled banana drizzled with date honey or maple syrup, with sliced almonds scattered over it.
- Green bananas may be boiled in their skins or peeled, sliced and fried, Latin-American style. But they have less antioxidant properties than ripe ones.
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