“Asante sana Squash Banana, wewe ndugu mimi hapana.” as Rafiki says in the famous movie ‘The Lion King’ includes bananas, even though he uses it as a proper name and not the noun we all know and love.
Bananas have graced our tables and counters for many years and will continue to do so. Are bananas good… you bet! As one of America’s favorite fruits, bananas can be found from Hawaii to New York and everywhere in between.
But what really is in a banana? Where do they come from and why are they so popular as a fruit? All these questions and more shall be answered in the following paragraphs.
Banana were originally cultivated in Southeast Asia somewhere between 5000 and 8000 B.C. and began showing up in written texts in Egypt and Palestine in the 10th century. They came over to the Americas via Portuguese ships in the 16th century and started plantations.
Banana nutrition really can vary between bananas and it depends on size and ripeness(green to yellow to brown). A typical ripe(yellow) banana will have 12% of your potassium, 9% of your carbs, 12% of your dietary fiber, 17% of your vitamin C, 20% of your vitamin B6, and 8% of your magnesium per 100 grams.
Bananas are picked when they are in at their green stage and are left to ripen in the store or at your home. If you want to ripen a banana, do not put it in the frigde. Instead put it near some other fruits and you can even put it in a paper bag to help speed up to process.
As a banana goes from green(unripe) to ripe(yellow) certain things change inside the banana. When a banana is green, it has more starch and actually has probiotic bacteria that help in your digestive track. They also help you absorb nutrient better.
When a banana begins to ripen, or turn yellow, it starts to change inside. The starch turns to sugar and the probiotic bacteria start to go away. Also, the micro nutrients break down and are not longer as beneficial or at the same numbers as the green bananas.
One good thing that happens is that bananas gain antioxidants as they ripen, so if that is what you are going for then eat more yellow bananas!
Depending on what you are going for from the banana will depend on when the best time for you to eat them is. Want more starch in your diet along with those awesome probiotics? Go for the green! Want to increase you antioxidant consumption? Go for the yellow! Want a possible combo of both worlds? Go for a banana that is just starting to turn yellow from its green state.
Not only are bananas great as they are, encased in their skin and ready to eat once a good peeling is done, but they also come in a wonderful form known as a banana chip. These can be either dried or fried, and can be seasoned with any number of flavors from sweet to savory and salty.
As with any other food, when you start adding things to it the nutrition will change. If you coat a banana chip in honey and sugar then of course it will not be as healthy for you and the sugar content will rise. This in my opinion can negate the effects that you are trying to achieve from consuming the banana chip in the first place.
On the other hand, if you are trying to include bananas into your diet, a savory one with not added salt might be a good option to explore new flavor combinations. You could find your new favorite snack right there.
One of the best ways I have found is to slice bananas right over my bowl of cereal in the morning. This usually adds a creamy texture to an otherwise crunchy and cold(milk) meal. If this is not your cup of tea, then here is a delicious way to incorporate bananas into your diet.
If you prefer it to be more liquid add some more milk or water. Or you could even add some orange juice or any other fruit juice. If you’d like to bump up the protein you could add a scoop of protein powder, just make sure to add a little more liquid otherwise it can get thick.
Bananas are an amazing wonderful fruit to add to your diet. They are super portable and can go with many flavor combinations. You can eat them raw in the green or yellow form, or include them in a wonderful recipe that calls for fruit.
Just be careful as a lot of recipes that include bananas have a high sugar amount added, so the simpler the better. One example of this would be banana bread. Delicious yes, but very high in sugar not just from the ripe bananas.
All in all, bananas are just wonderful. They combine different good-for-you aspects depending on what stage you consume them at. You could even start with green ones, eat some, and continue to eat them as they ripen to get the full benefit from them. The choice is yours!
Bananas are know to be high in potassium which can be bad for people with certain conditions. As with any diet change, please consult your doctor before changing it. Your doctor should always be a part of you get healthy team.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them below and I will happily get back to you. 🙂