B for Banana
reading time: ca. 3 min
hey there food friends
one month ago (it's exactly one month to the day, i noticed. #funnycoincidence) i started a little trivia series on the ABC of raw food lifestyle essentials where i share my knowledge of food and nutrition*. click here for the previous episode.
Episode 2: B for Banana.
i love bananas (my brother calls me Banana Girl sometimes). They are the ultimate fast food! You don't even have to wash them, all you need to do is peel a banana and eat it. Also, bananas - as well as e.g. apples, melons, apricots, tomatoes and avocados - is classed with climecteric fruit, meaning they ripen after the picking process, so you can buy a whole box of greenish bananas and let them after-ripen over the week. handy, right?
The perfect banana has lightly freckled -not bruised- skin and yellow-white, creamy but firm flesh - wrap them in a paper bag or newspaper or store them next to apples to accelerate the ripening process!
If you read my article on avocados (or watched the first season of Dr Who) you already know that bananas contain a fair amount of potassium: around 480mg per large banana. Not only does potassium promote bone health - it also helps lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke. It regulates cell growth as well as protein synthesis and utilization of carbohydrates. Maybe most important of all: its benefit of maintaining proper heart function.
Alongside potassium, magnesium plays a role in preventing both stroke and heart attack. Furthermore it helps stabilize muscle cells, neural cells and cells of the autonomic nervous system.
Bananas are particularly high in vitamin B6, vital for creating hemoglobin for healthy blood. Vitamin B6 deficienty can result in depression, anemia, high blood pressure and water retention, and an increase of homocysteine. To quote wikipedia: "A high level of homocysteine makes a person more prone to endothelial injury, which leads to vascular inflammation, which in turn may lead to atherogenesis, which can result in ischemic injury."
Last but not least bananas are very high in fiber, and promote digestive system. They contain a hydrocolloid, a soluble fiber called pectin that helps the food move smoothly through the digestive tract and ease constipation as well as diarrhea, similar to flaxseed.
|flourless no-dairy egg banana pancake with nectarines and frozen berries.|
- perfect fast food: comes in it's own shell, "prepackaged by nature", no washing required, quickly provides energy due to its caloric and nutrient density. bananas make a great snack at work or at the gym, for written exams or just when you're feeling down and tired.
- natural teeth whitening: i haven't tried this myself yet, but apparently the inside of a banana peel has a teeth whitening effect. after eating the banana simply take the left over peel and rub your teeth with the white inside of it.
- banana is a food for everyone, from infants to elders to monkeys. when it's ripe it has a dense, creamy consistence which works well for a quick baby meal. simply mash the soft banana flesh with a fork and maybe add a dash of milk. done. easy, cheap, healthy baby food. or just a nice addition to your regular breakfast porridge. (tastes great with cinnamon and/or cocoa powder!)
- one-ingredient banana ice cream: peel and slice 1 or 2 bananas. put it in the freezer for an hour or two. put the frozen pieces in your blender or food processor and pulse-blend until the chunks become a soft cream. devour.
also, you can mix in some cinnamon, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, or some almond or peanut butter - or all of it at once, ha ha!
- banana pancakes: 1 ripe banana + 2 whole eggs.
mix in a bowl, making sure the banana is all mashed. cover your pan with any sort of oil or butter, on low to medium heat, scoop some of the batter on there, flip after about half a minute or so, and done! a banana pancake/omlett!
- banana chips: 4 ripe bananas + 2 tsp olive oil or coconut oil or palm oil.
preheat oven to 175 C. lightly coat 2 baking sheets with oil, slice the bananas thinly and arrange them in one layer each on the sheets. cook them in the oven for about 3 hours, until they're dehydrated but not hard as stone. cool the banana chips on a wire rack. store them in an airtight container.
- healthy bread spread: 1 ripe banana + 1 slice of bread.
spread some butter on a slice of (toasted) bread. optionally, add a thin layer of peanut butter or nougat cream. top it of by covering your slice of bread with one sliced banana. yum!
- banana porridge: easy. just mash up a few bananas, chop in an apple for more crispy texture, and sprinkle with cinnamon, nuts, coconut shreds, cacao or whatever else you like.
- banana butter: 4 ripe bananas + 3/4 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey + 2 tbsp lemon juice + a small pat butter + 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp hot water.
thoroughly mash bananas and add to a add to a little saucepan with the lemon juice and the butter. heat it up slowly, stiring all the time. when it's fully boiling, add all sugar and reduce heat. keep stirring. after 1-2 mins add the cornstarch water mixture and continue cooking/stirring until you get a thick jam. add more cornstarch if necessary. pour the hot jam into clean bowls or pre-warmed glass jars. allow to cool, then refridgerate.
- banana fries: some coconut oil or other oil + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + 1 tbsp organic honey + 1 ripe organic banana.
cut the banana into slices or lengthwhise slits. mix together honey and ½ tbsp water in a small bowl and set aside. take a frying pan, generously cover it with coconut oil, sunflower oil or butter and place under medium heat. spread out the banana slices and flip them over once browned (after around 1-2 mins). immediately turn off the stove - yes, while the other side is still trying to get this golden crust - and pour the honey-water-syrup all over the top. see how it bubbles? once the bottom side of the banana slices is also browned, sprinkle the cinnamon on top and enjoy : )
- banana bread: 1½ cups almond flour + ½ cup coconut flour (= thoroughly blended coconut shreds) + 1 ½ tsp baking powder + ½ tsp sea salt + 4 ripe bananas + 4 tbsp oil + 6 eggs + 1 cup nuts of your choice (i recommend almonds or walnuts). optionally: add some cinnamon and/or cardamom!
preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. mix all dry ingredients using a spoon. mix all liquid ingredients using a fork, then pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. pour the dough into a loaf tin, which you covered with a baking paper or some oil before. bake for 50 mins until topside is slightly browned. done. let cool or eat at once with some melting butter.
- frozen chocolate bites: 3 ripe but not mushy bananas, peeled and cut into bite size pieces + 2 tbsp canola oil or coconut oil or butter + 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or coconut butter + raw cocoa powder) + optional: assorted toppings such as seedds, (roasted) nuts, cocoa nibs, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, toffee bits, coarse sea salt, granola, sprinkles etc.
place banana pieces on foil or parchment paper, poke them with cocktail forks or toothpicks, and freeze them for about 2 hours. stir chocolate and oil in small saucepan on low heat until its smooth. set aside for 15 mins to cool. dip the frozen banana in the chocolate, shake off any excess, and drop dipped banana in your topping of choice (or no topping at all). transfer back to your foil-linen sheet or parchment paper. re-freeze it for about half an hour to an hour. done!
- banana pops: same ingredients as for the frozen bites!
instead of using sliced bananas, break them in half and pierce a skewer into the bottom of each chunk. dip them into the melted chocolate and sprinkle! additionally you could cover them in vanilla yoghurt before dipping them into the chocolate!
- banana tiramisu: oh yeh, you've read right. you can make creamylicious tiramisu, using only bananas, dates, buckwheat/oats and shredded coconut. totally guiltfree and all the more delicious :)
|Mango Banana Ice Cream|
|source: Freelee the Banana Girl|
*note: i am not a nutritionist nor dietician. however i did spend three years reading up on nutrients, dietary needs, various forms of nutrition and eating disorders, and do consider myself quite an educated food friend. if there's anything i misrepresented or missed out, feel free to correct me.
Alright, enough trivia for today.
Next up we got C for...? Can-you-guess!
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