It’s Friday (February 15th, 2019)

Published 1:06 pm Monday, February 18, 2019

Bunches of reasons

to eat your bananas

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

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Peel and eat

A banana… I just had mine for the day.  DW and I try to have one every day and they’re always on our grocery list.  Seems I’ve noticed that over the last couple of years I have more aches and pains and my daily banana seems to help alleviate some of that, with good reason, too.

If you’ve ever traveled to the Mississippi Gulf Coast you’ve seen the port where Dole Bananas arrive and then are distributed north. Most bananas come from the warm, humid tropical climates of Central and South America.  And, unlike other fruits, their flavor improves when ripened off the tree, so they’re picked “green.”

Before being shipped, the unripe bananas are placed in chambers where they are exposed to ethylene gas until a hint of yellow develops. Then they are boxed up and shipped to distributors and while in transit they continue to ripen.

Time sensitive

You can put still-green bananas in brown paper sacks to speed up ripening if needed, but they will continue to ripen at room temperature.  Ripe bananas can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, though the peel turns brown, the fruit stays the same.  I keep a large freezer bag in the deep freeze where I put those that over-ripen before we can eat them to use later for banana bread.  Frozen bananas make good smoothies, too.  Once exposed to air, a peeled banana will begin to discolor, but that process can be slowed down with a dip in lemon juice.

Bunches of reasons to eat bananas abound. First because they are pretty much the cheapest fruit in the produce section.  And definitely cheaper than candy bars, potato chips and soft drinks.

Daily boost

Bananas are so rich in potassium and having one extra serving of a potassium-rich food every day may reduce the risk of stroke.  They are fat-free, contain no sodium and no cholesterol but they contain pectin, a soluble fiber as in oats, they may actually reduce cholesterol levels. 

Eat and lose

Bananas have only 105 calories and just one banana will fill you up and satisfy your appetite.  When full we’re less likely to overeat.  Because they are packed with vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and potassium good nutrition is not shortchanged.  And, nutrition with fewer calories is important for those of us getting older.

More power to you!

Bananas provide fuel for muscle and brain power!  These complex carbohydrates are also the best fuel for athletes, runners, serious work-out enthusiasts, and even the less enthusiastic, like me.  The carbs in bananas are not the same as in candy bars and soft drinks.  These healthy carbs sustain you during strenuous activity.  And, during such physical activity, our bodies loose potassium, which is necessary in maintaining the heartbeat, regulating muscle contractions, and controlling the body’s fluid balance.  So, bananas are the perfect after-work out snack.  Have a banana with ¼ cup raw almonds and cool water…it’s just as beneficial as any sports drink.

Bananas for babies

Bananas are very low in allergens and very few babies are allergic to them.  And, because they have practically no fat, they are very easy for babies to digest. They make the perfect snack for children of all ages by helping meet caloric and energy needs in a healthy way.  Bananas fit perfectly in a lunch box. Teaching kids to choose a piece of fruit rather than a candy bar or chips helps to establish healthy eating habits for a lifetime.

Banana bliss

They are easy to eat, don’t have seeds or pits, are easy on sensitive stomachs and good for the gastrointestinal tract.  Thankfully bananas are always available, inexpensive and don’t need any special preparation.  Just peel and eat.  That’s why bananas are always on my grocery list.

Recipe of the Week

Banana Tricks & Treats

More reasons to bring bananas home.

• Slice bananas over pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits.

• Mash with peanut butter; use as a spread for sandwiches, toasts, bagels, pita bread, wraps.

• Blend 2 frozen bananas with 2 tablespoons milk until smooth for a quick ice cream treat

• Swap mashed bananas for up to half the butter or oil in muffin, pancake, waffle, and cake batters; reduce heat by 25 degrees to cook.

• Use mashed bananas for ¼ to granulated sugar in quick breads, muffins and cakes.

• Grilled banana: cut a slit in the peel, open gently and stuff with peanut butter; sprinkle with chocolate chips, place on heated grill.  Close lid, grill for 5 minutes.

• Put peelings in compost to enrich your homemade soil.