By: Amanda Froelich,
Creamy, delicious, filling, and nutritious, bananas have been reported to be one of the most perfect foods for mankind. Even after it’s been picked from the stalk, a banana continues to ripen, the starches converting to natural sugars and its nutrient content continuing to rise!
Bananas are so incredible, in fact, that they have a list of reported health benefits. Some of them follow:
- Overcome Depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin (the happy mood brain neurotransmitter!)
- Sustain balance blood sugar; eating before a workout will ensure you’re properly fueled.
- Protect against muscle cramps and/or leg cramps with high levels of Vitamin K (Potassium)
- Improve mood and reduce PMS symptoms because of their balancing effect on blood sugar and hormone regulation
- Reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6
- Reduce Anemia because of Iron
- Protect against heart attack and stroke due to their high potassium, low salt content.
- Aid digestion due to fiber and pectin content (which chelates toxins and heavy metals from the body), stimulates healthy bacteria, reduces constipation, and help produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.
- Prevent kidney cancer, protects against macular degeneration, builds strong bones (by increasing calcium absorption) and enhance intelligence by making one more alert.
- Protect the body from oxidation, disease, and free radicals, being high in antioxidants and nutrients.
The above are just some of the amazing benefits of bananas, one of the most affordable fruits found in the US and UK as well! Because this fruit is so amazing, be sure to add it into your diet in one of the best 5 ways
1. In Cereal
It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but why not add a few bananas to your morning heart-healthy oatmeal or along with your energy-sustaining granola? Slice them up, add a dash of cinnamon, and you’ll have transformed your morning routine into some morning bliss!
Another commonly overlooked way to use bananas is to use them as a creamy base in your smoothies! One of the best ways to combine alkalizing, nutrient-dense greens and fruits in your smoothie is to experiment with a recipe such as this one:
Banana Bliss Smoothie
- 3-4 Bananas
- 1 Cup Frozen Berries
- 1 Handful of Greens (Spinach is neutral and is hardly tasted)
- 1 Cup Nut/Seed milk (Hemp, Almond, Cashew, or a home-made version works well)
- *optional: cinnamon or cardamom
- Blend and Serve!
3. Banana Ice Cream
For those who have never tried Banana Ice Cream, prepare to be ‘wowed’. Using one simple ingredient, bananas, it’s possible to recreate the texture and banana-infused flavor of the treat so beloved by the world. However, this version is much healthier… and besides being less in saturated fats, hormones, and additives, is much more affordable and can be made in seconds.
*Note: Because of the hard state of the frozen bananas, a high-speed blender or slow, masticating juicer is required. *
Banana Ice Cream:
- 5 FROZEN bananas
- ½ tsp Vanilla
Blueberry: ½ Cup Frozen Blueberries
Strawberry: ½ -1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
Chocolate: ¼ Cup Raw Carob or Cacao
- In a high-speed blender (such as the Vita-Mix) (or a slow masticating juicer -such as Champion or Greenstar) blend your ingredients with a dash of water and use the tamper to combine, or slowly push through the juicer opening and catch the soft serve in a dish.
- Scoop into portions, sprinkle some fruit or raw cacao on top (depending on your flavor) and enjoy!
This amazing treat is so healthy it can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! How cool is that!
4. Banana Boats
Not only are bananas so good for us, they’re so versatile to use! Another great idea to use bananas is to create banana boats. Fill the Center with some peanut butter and raisins and serve to kids, or make a fruit jam (with figs, strawberries, and cinnamon) and spread inside a split banana, or even… make a Raw and Vegan Banana Split!
Using #3, make 2-3 different types of banana ice cream and put a few scoops inside a split banana. Get creative with your toppings (such as chopped dates, nuts, or cacao nibs) and enjoy with your kids, friends, and family!
5. Sprouted Buckwheat Bars
Utilizing all of nature’s goodness, this bar can be a staple in your household if you’re looking for healthy and affordable ways to keep your family full. Buckwheat is one of the staples of the future: it has all essential amino acids, is high in a variety of nutrients and B Vitamins, and is also one of the most affordable plant-based staples, usually no more than $2.30 / pound.
Sprouted, it doubles in size and gains even more nutrition, and coupled with bananas, they’re a perfect pair that will ensure balanced blood sugar, amazing health, and an easy-to-make.
Sprouted Buckwheat Bars:
- 2 Cups Buckwheat; Sprouted makes 3 – 3.5 (To sprout, soak overnight, rinse in the morning, and sit on the counter for 1 day, rinsing again at night. The next day put some place dark and a little bit cooler, rinsing again morning and night. By the third day, they should be ready, with little sprout tails!)
- 4 Bananas
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 Cup Almonds, Ground
- ½ Cup Dates, soaked for ½ – 1 hour
- 1 – 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/8 Cup Coconut Shreds
- Place ground almonds (you can grind in a coffee grinder or a high-speed blender) in a food processor with soaked dates. Combine.
- Add in your Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Bananas, and process once more until well combined.
- Slowly add in your sprouted buckwheat. Gently mix, you don’t want the groats to be broken down. (Dried, they are reminiscent of Rice Krispies, therefore are best whole).
- Once well combined, transfer to a pan or glass casserole dish with a depth and shape you’d like your bars to be. Sprinkle your coconut shreds into the base so they do not stick, and evenly press your bars into the shape of the pan.
- Next, dehydrate in the dehydrator at 105 degrees for 6 hours. You should be able to pry the bars out and leave on the sheet to dry more thoroughly for another 3-4 hours, depending on how dehydrated you want them.
- If you don’t have a dehydrator and would like to create these bars as well, it is possible to use an oven, leaving it on the lowest temperature, and baking for 3 hours. This option has not been tested, so watch the process to prevent the bars from burning.
- One last option is to not dehydrate them at all! The texture will be different, but they can be wrapped in plastic and ready for you and your kids or friends on the go!
With 5 amazing ways to include more bananas, there are no excuses not to use this incredible food from nature to enrich your life! Work towards a more nourished world by creating a healthier you, family, and using those foods that are sustainable for the planet.
Amanda Froelich is a Raw Vegan Chef, Detoxification Specialist, Travel and Alternative Health Writer, Holistic Nutrition Student and Student of Life. She posts decadent FREE Raw and Vegan Recipes at http://mandybloomsraw.com and travels as a healthy nomad at http://travelfruitlove.com . More can be found about Amanda at http://amandafroelich.com