Health and Nutritional Benefits of Bananas:
I do not think I ever met a person who does not love bananas. Along with apples they are by far the most popular fruits. Why? They are easy, can be eaten on the go, are a perfect portion size, and even have their own wrap.
Bananas are very healthy; contain health-promoting flavonoids and poly-phenolic, such as lutein, and beta and alpha – carotenes, which act as antioxidant to fight free radicals.
Bananas are good for the nerves, muscles, liver, and kidneys, and they feed the good bacteria in the colon. They also help to lessen pain, aid sleep, and enhance immune function. They are excellent for children and people who are recovering from illness. Bananas are indeed a true comfort food.
Key nutrients in bananas include potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B3 ( niacin), vitamin D, vitamin E, sodium, chlorine, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, fructose, glucose, sucrose, zinc, copper, fiber, and small amounts of lipids and amino acids.
With the exception of avocados, bananas contain more potassium by weight than any other fruit. Just one banana contains 467 mg of potassium, which is important for controlling your heart rate and blood pressure. The fiber is in abundance and helps keep your digestive system regulated. The magnesium helps strengthen your bones and protects the heart. Manganese activates antioxidant enzymes.
Avoid The Green In Bananas
One important point that you do not hear or see very often is that bananas should only be eaten when they are absolutely ripe, meaning with NO green showing. When ripe, bananas contain more than 75% water, while the carbohydrate sugar content is 22% but this is not completely formed until they are ripe. If eaten when not fully ripe, they are harder to digest as the sugar content is higher. So remember, only ripe bananas before a workout or you will suffer with digestive issues.
When bananas are ripe they are particularly sensitive to low temperatures. Placing them in a cold refrigerator will turn them black and may spoil their flavor.
In selecting bananas, try and choose those that are full and plump as they will have more flavor and delicacy.
I love to cut them in pieces when over ripe, freeze, and use in my smoothies instead of ice cubes. The texture is like velvet! You may also keep the frozen bits or pieces as a healthy snack for the kids in warm weather.
By Frances Michaelson
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