When fruit cravings happen, berries and bananas are a good choice as they are rich in vitamins. Banana's wonderfully sweet, creamy flesh, and the fact that they’re perfectly packaged by nature in their own yellow jacket leaves me simply smitten. Whether baking, mashing, blending them into a scrumptious smoothie or a remarkable raw dessert, or simply enjoying them straight from the skin; bananas are a brilliant sweet treat to work with in the kitchen, and they’ll reward you by working wonders on your health, and renovating your body into a sanctuary of wellness.
Bananas are one of the highest sources of vitamin B6 you can eat, and provide impressive amounts of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. Vitamin B6 is a vital nutrient that helps with the production of several neurotransmitters; chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another. B6 is therefore needed for normal brain development and function, and helps to make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood; and melatonin, which helps to keep your body clock in top order.
The vitamin B6 found in bananas also appears to have significant anti-cancer properties, with a Scottish study on 2000 people confirming an association between the consumption of B6 and a lowered risk of colon cancer. A Swedish study conducted on 61 000 women also found that out of all of the fruits eaten, bananas have the greatest protection against renal cancer; with women eating 5 bananas a week slashing their risk by almost 50%! Several other studies attest to the anti-cancerous properties within bananas due to the presence of lectins (bio-active proteins) which are known to have effects on cancer growth, particularly in cases of childhood leukaemia.
If you’re feeling a bit sluggish or afflicted in your digestion, bananas are a must have ingredient to get things soothing and moving! Bananas are excellent for stomach and intestinal inflammations such as colitis and Crohns disease, and are known to help reduce diarrhoea. A bout of diarrhoea can also quickly deplete your body of important electrolytes, and bananas are a fantastic way to replenish these stores due to their high potassium content; a vital electrolyte that helps to regulate heart function and fluid balance. To get things going, bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to normalise movement through the digestive tract and eases constipation. They also provide a good source of pre-biotics in the form of fructooligosaccharides, which nourish and feed friendly bacteria in the colon; keeping your intestinal flora, and your immune system strong.
Like anything, bananas can get boring if consumed in the same way for years on end. Sadly, once boredom sets in, that’s when foods are avoided, and the potential health benefits are missed. If you have some of these healing health boosters on hand, you don’t have to always eat them as they are; there are a range of interesting, and delicious ways that you can enjoy the sweet flavours and health benefits of bananas. Dehydrating is a brilliant option to preserve a big bunch of bananas, and banana chips make a brilliant preservative free lunch box addition for both kids and adults, minus any soggy disasters. Click here to learn about food dehydration, and how you can enjoy bananas, many other fruits, and even vegetables as a nutritious, delicious, and affordable dehydrated snack.
One of the best ways to enjoy a ripe banana is to whizz it up into a smoothie. Their creamy sweet texture makes it a fabulous ice cream replacement. Chop them up, freeze them and add them to your blender to bring a naturally sweet flavour, thick texture and a hit of energy boosting nutrients to your smoothie creations. Throw one in with a few handfuls of chlorophyll rich greens like kale, spinach, cos lettuce celery and parsley, with a dash of spirulina, lemon juice and purified water for a green smoothie that’ll boost energy naturally, oxygenate your blood and refresh your day better than any triple shot espresso. This almond and berry smoothie is a delectable treat based on the beautiful banana, and is a wonderful pre-yoga breakfast, or a satisfying, antioxidant rich brekkie-on-the-go.
My all time favourite way to use my yellow jacketed friends is in this blissful banana bread recipe. As much as I run for the hills from conventional banana breads, with their sky-rocketing refined sugar and white wheat flour content, I couldn’t let that stop me from enjoying its sweet comfort. I’ve done some shape shifting with the standard sugary recipe, and this is hands down the best banana bread you’ll make. It’s lusciously moist, fresh and sweet, and will keep like that for days. I’ve let Mr Banana do most of the sweetening work, with the help of my natural, sugar free friend; stevia. Stevia is a spectacular plant based sugar replacement with many health benefits including lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as having antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. You can purchase this amazing staple ingredient at the Supercharged Food online store.
This beautiful banana bread, with hints of walnut nutmeg and cinnamon will bring a skip into your step and a smile to your dial, and is a fabulous way to enjoy the bountiful health benefits that bananas have to offer, without the risk of and mushy messes. Enjoy as an occasional treat warmed with a spread of organic butter, or some slices of banana, for a satisfying mid morning snack alongside a tranquil cuppa. Absolute bliss!
- 2 cups of almond meal/flour
- ½ cup walnuts crushed
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarb of soda
- 1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 medium eggs
- ½ cup grapeseed oil or melted butter
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 3 bananas mashed
- 8 drops liquid stevia
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and grease a loaf tin
- In a bowl place the almond flour, walnuts, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and stevia, and stir to combine. In a separate bowl put the eggs, grapeseed oil and coconut milk and whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and fold through
- Add mashed banana and fold in lightly
- Spoon the batter into loaf pan and place in the oven for 40 mins testing with a skewer after 30 minutes to check if it is cooked through
- Remove from oven and let cool before placing on a wire rack
Happy cooking 🙂