Bananas are an awesome fruit. They are nutritious and easy-going, offering a pretty perfect start to a day. I haven’t always liked bananas. During school years, I’d often get a very ripe banana in my lunchbox, making my peanut butter sandwiches smell very weird. For years after school, I avoided bananas. However, nowadays, they are an everyday treat of mine. Besides the ease and taste, there are a ton of banana benefits to enjoy. Read on and find out more about this fabulous fruit that you should include it on your weekly shopping list.
What is a Banana?
A banana is a sweet soft fruit, well-known by pretty much the entire world. Bananas have an inner edible flesh, covered in an outer rind that can vary in colours. Yellow bananas are the most common, but you can also find green, brown and purple colours too, depending on the ripeness and species.
Just as an interesting bit of extra information: In the biological classification of plants, the hierarchy moves from Family, down to Genus, down to Species. Most bananas come from the genus, Musa. Musa belongs to the family, Musaceae. This genus, Musa, includes bananas and plantains.
Where do Bananas come from?
Bananas are said to have originated from Papua New Guinea – in the south-west Pacific, encompassing the eastern part of the New Guinea island as well as it’s offshore islands.
Bananas are native to the tropic environment of Australia and the Indomalaya – An area covering most of south and southeast Asia. This is banana land, where they grow naturally in their favourite environment. Bananas are grown all over the world though, in over 130 countries. However, it’s no surprise that world leaders in the production of this fruit include China and India.
To this day, bananas are a staple starch food for many tropical populations.
Bananas have been a great source of food since their beginning, and are currently one of the most popular fruits around. Used mainly as a fruit ingredient for sweet and savoury dishes, but also for more unique uses like banana beer and wine, or even as ornaments.
#DidYouKnow – The most common banana you see in the supermarket is called a Cavendish banana. The preferred variety was originally the Gros Michel, which essentially became extinct by 1960, thanks to a fungus called Panama disease. Fun fact via The Banana Police.
When is Banana Season?
Bananas grow from a bulb on their tree and take about 9-12 months until they’re ready for harvest. They don’t have a particular growing season like other fruits, making them available all year round.
Makes sense, as it’s not often that I have not found bananas when grocery shopping. They’re always there when I need them, an (almost) everyday purchase for as long as I can remember.
What makes a Banana so awesome?
Bananas are delicious, for starters.
Their flavour has an interesting ability to be subtle or bold, depending on how you use them. They can be enjoyed many sweet or savoury ways, My two simple favourites are as a Simple Smoothie or in a Fruit Bowl with Coconut Milk. Buono! (“Delicious!” in Italian).'Buono' is one of the most important Italian words to learn. It means 'Delicious' and should be used often! #foodlover Click To Tweet
They are also very accessible – Often well priced in comparison to others and available pretty much all year round.
They have an outer rind cover, making them easier to travel with.
These power fruits are one of the best ways to energise your body. With lots of Potassium and B Vitamins, they can offer a more sustained release of energy, making you feel full too, for longer. At the same time, they’re also assisting in keeping blood sugars stable.
There are more than 100 billion bananas eating every year in the world!More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year, making them the fourth most popular agricultural product in the world. #ThatsBananas Click To Tweet
A Closer Look at The Banana?
Bananas may not be as popular worldwide as Mangoes, but they are certainly in the Top 5. Let’s take a closer look at this fruit and get even more excited to eat more!
Read on to discover more about:
Banana Nutritional Content
Banana Health Benefits
Simply Clean Banana Recipes
Banana Nutritional Content:
A 100g of raw banana contains:
|Energy||371 kJ (89 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.6 g|
|Vitamins||Thiamine (3%), Riboflavin (6%), Niacin (4%), Pantothenic acid (7%), Vitamin (31%), Folate (5%), Choline (2%), Vitamin C (10%)|
|Minerals||Iron (2%), Magnesium (8%), Manganese (13%), Phosphorus (3%), Potassium (8%), Sodium (0%), Zinc (2%)|
Banana Health Benefits:
Like most whole fruits, bananas are packed with nutrients – vitamins, minerals and fibre. All these nutrients contribute to the healthy functioning of our bodies in some way.
Bananas can be beneficial for Heart Health. They contain specific nutrients that can assist in moderating blood pressure. These fruits also have a low-med glycemic index – an indicator of how much the carbs in foods affect a person’s blood glucose levels – meaning that bananas are unlikely to cause a spike in blood sugar rise, and instead promote a slow releasing effect.
And, of course, Bananas contain a good amount of Potassium, an essential mineral that helps maintain a healthy balance of fluids in the body. From assisting in regulating healthy blood pressure to transmitting electrical pulses to promote proper functioning of the nerves and muscles, and lots more. Potassium is an important mineral to have in your diet, and chomping on a banana a day is a good way to get some of what you need daily.
Bananas promote Healthy Digestion. Bananas, like other fruits, contain fibre, a necessary roughage for good digestion. Fibre is important to have in your eating plan, so here is a High Fibre Grocery List. One of its fibres is called Resistant Starch, which also becomes food for beneficial gut bacteria. It is interesting to note that, a greener unripe banana contains more Resistant Starch than a ripe one. Just a thought.
Mentioned above, Bananas release their energy slowly and steadily when eaten. If you’re wanting to lose weight, these are great to eat. They don’t contain a lot of calories and are very nutritious. They are also filling, offering a balanced longer-lasting energy release.
Bananas have been said to prevent cramps in legs of athletes. This is a debated topic, but either way, I used to eat bananas before my long distance runs in primary school. Up early before a race, and I’d lick a little salt and eat a banana. Can’t remember if it worked, but I ran well and didn’t get cramps often.
I have also read that bananas are mood-enhancing. I am not sure if this is true, but I love good moods and bananas, so hey, why not? If you know more, please share in the comments below.
Besides the specific benefits above, it’s important to not nitpick details but to rather look at the big picture. The saying “We are what we eat” is a cliche for a reason – it’s very true and has been said over and over again.
Healthy eating feeds our bodies with the foods it needs to function optimally. Eating whole foods, like bananas, without additives and unnatural ingredients make sense. You’re feeding your bodies the good stuff without the bad.
So whether bananas are going to sort out your moods or blood pressure is not the point. These are whole, nutritious foods that should be part of your eating plan. Be kind to your body.
|Eating:||*Recipes at bottom of post.|
|For Breakfast: There are so many recipes! Eat as if, or simply slice up a banana and mix with nuts and coconut milk (or yoghurt) in a bowl - Done! Delicious!|
|On-the-go snack: Bananas are convenient, filling, and delicious snacks.|
|Bananas can be cooked in many sweet or savoury recipes. A super fruit indeed!|
|Drinking:||*Recipes at bottom of post.|
|Smoothie: With as few as 5 ingredients, you can make yourself a Super Smooth Banana Smoothie, ready to kickstart a good day!|
|Whitening Teeth: After brushing your teeth, rub them with the inside of a banana peel for 2 min. Repeat each night.|
|Treating Damaged Hair: This is an interesting recipe to try: Dr Oz's Homemade Banana Conditioner.|
|Face Mask: The Vitamin A bananas contain assist in restoring dry and damaged skin. Mashup a ripe banana, apply to clean face and leave for 20min.|
|Weight Loss & Appetite Control: Bananas contains a fibre, which slows digestion and helps control appetite.|
|Heart Health: Bananas contain specific nutrients that can assist in moderating blood pressure. These fruits also have a low-med glycemic index.|
Here are some other interesting uses for bananas, the list is endless!
|If you can, go to a local fruit and veg market. Here you'll likely find fresher and better priced options.|
|You generally buy bananas based on your preferences and needs. Some people prefer more ripe bananas and others prefer unripe. This is up to you. However, if you're only buying bananas for you, a tip would be to get some that are a little unripe so that you have more time before you need to eat them.|
|Riper bananas (yellow and brown spots) have are generally sweeter. Keep this in mind when cooking, as some recipes work better with very ripe bananas, such as a tasty Homemade Banana Bread.|
|Bananas are very convenient, just peel and eat, easy peasy!|
|Bananas can be used in many different ways. Check out some recipes further down.|
|If you want to keep your ripe bananas ripe and firm for a little long, putting them in the fridge will help. However, like with many fruits, if they are unripe, it's recommended to let them ripen outside the fridge in room temperature.|
|If you would like to speed up the ripening, put your bananas in a brown bag in the dark. You could also put the bananas with other ripe fruit which speeds it up too - strange and cool don-t you think! Try it and let me know in the comments below.|
Got any other tips to share? Please share below in the comments, would love to learn more.
Simple Clean Banana Recipes:
- Good Morning Banana Smoothie
- Simple Banana Coconut Bowl
- Homemade Banana Bread
- Basic Banana Nut Snack
- Weekend Banana Pancakes
- Banana Oats Maple Bowl
Each month, when I embark on a discovery of one ingredient, it’s interesting what you find. I didn’t particularly like bananas as a child, and especially didn’t like the smell they gave my peanut butter sandwiches in my school lunchboxes. Ever since those school days, I would tend to avoid anything Banana, especially when they had even the slightest bruise.
Nowadays, I realise how, over the last 10 or so years, bananas have slowly crept back into my life and now I eat them more than any other fruit. A lovely fresh banana feels like the penultimate morning fruit. It certainly is an underrated fruit that deserves a shoutout!
If you enjoyed this post, please share it. I’d love to spread the love for this wonderful ingredient so that more people can appreciate it. If you have useful information to share, please do so in the comments – We are always learning and I’d love to learn more. Hey, I may even quote it in the article!
Don’t miss next weeks Simple Banana Coconut Bowl Recipe Post.