Superfood Series: Go Bananas!

With winter in full swing, many fruits are out-of-season and expensive. Have no fear! Bananas are available year round! The fruit contains many vitamins and minerals and is low in sodium, fat and cholesterol. This super food is sure to give your heart a healthy boost.

Fact or fiction: Bananas are high in potassium. Fact, of course! Remember when you were a kid and your mom would give you a banana when you had leg cramps? Potassium aids in muscle function, nerve function and fluid balance. Along with potassium, bananas are a good source of vitamin B6, which helps break down and utilize the foods you eat.

Another benefit to eating bananas is the prebiotics they contain. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your gut, and prebiotics are the food for probiotics. The prebiotics ferment in your colon and can potentially lead to healthier digestion.

Now that we know the benefits of bananas, how can we incorporate them into our diets? Bananas can be a flavorful addition to many dishes. A banana with 2 tablespoons of nut butter is a classic, and bananas are always good in oatmeal and cereal. Try blending one banana with a carton of strawberries and ½ cup of your favorite milk. Another option is making a fruit salad with 6 ounces of your favorite yogurt. My favorite is freezing a banana and eating it with 2 tablespoons of melted dark chocolate. So yummy! I challenge you to try a new recipe this week that includes a banana. Go monkeys!

By Laura Oliver, MS, RD

References

  1. “Bananas Good For Your Heart.” Chiquita®. Chiquita® Brands L.L.C, 2012. Web. 27 December 2012. < http://www.chiquitabananas.com/Worlds-Favorite-Fruit/banana-good-for-your-heart.aspx>.
  2. “Banana Nutrition Facts about Chiquita® Bananas.” Chiquita®. Chiquita® Brands L.L.C, 2012. Web. 27 December 2012. < http://www.chiquitabananas.com/Worlds-Favorite-Fruit/index-banana-nutrition-facts.aspx>.
  3. Englberger, L., et al. “Carotenoid-Rich Bananas: A Potential Food Source for Alleviating Vitamin A Deficiency.” Food and nutrition bulletin 24.4 (2003): 303-18. Print.
  4. Mitsou, E. K., et al. “Effect of Banana Consumption on Faecal Microbiota: A Randomised, Controlled Trial.” Anaerobe 17.6 (2011): 384-7. Print.
  5. Sabater-Molina, M., et al. “Dietary Fructooligosaccharides and Potential Benefits on Health.” Journal of physiology and biochemistry 65.3 (2009): 315-28. Print.
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