Did you know that bananas are one of the world’s most popular foods and the #1 selling item at Wal-Mart?
Over 100 billion bananas are consumed annually in the world, making bananas the 4th largest agricultural product in the world, following only wheat, rice and corn.
Are Bananas Really at Risk?
Bananas are loved for their flavour, texture and health properties, but this highly popular fruit may be on the brink of extinction. Check-out this video to learn how and why the future of bananas may be at risk.
Until the 1960’s, the bananas that were found in most stores were from the “Gros Michel” banana crops, but crops were quickly wiped out by the Panama Disease. The entire banana industry had to be re-built and the variety most consumed today is known as the “Cavendish” banana. The Cavendish crops are now in danger of being wiped out as well. Hopefully, scientists will be able to use what they know about bananas and the diseases infecting the crops to prevent extinction.
Banana Nutrition Facts
As you can see from the nutrition facts chart on the left, bananas are low in fat and provide a great source of both Dietary Fibre and Vitamin C. They also contain Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron. In addition to the above, bananas also provide us with Vitamin B6, manganese, and an excellent source of potassium. Bananas are high in carbohydrates and so if weight loss is your intent, you may want to monitor your consumption, especially in relation to other carbs you may be consuming on a given day.
Health Benefits of Bananas
- The potassium in bananas helps to protect our cardiovascular system (high blood pressure and stroke) and enhances the performance of our circulatory system.
- Bananas contain a prebiotic substance called fructooligosaccharide, which aids in digestion and the absorption of calcium.
- Banana peels have been used for a variety of natural healing purposes such treatment of warts, mosquito bites and even pimples!
- Regular consumption of bananas has also been linked to increasing brain power.
- Bananas can stimulate energy and help improve your mood.
Another benefit to bananas high potassium content derives from that mineral’s role as an energy-supplying electrolyte. Since bananas also contain tryptophan, serotonin and norepinephrine, they help prevent depression while encouraging feelings of well-being and relaxation. In addition, the vitamin B6 in bananas helps protect against sleeplessness, mood swings and irritability.
Other Strange Ways to Use Banana Peels
Delicious and Healthy Banana Bread
We love banana bread at our house. I have a great recipe that I have used for years. It is very moist and delicious, but probably not the most nutritious. Last winter, our family did a 3 month stint of eating following the Primal Blueprint principles. The Primal Blueprint is not exactly the same eating Paleo, but the two are similar in many regards. One of the recipes that we fell in love with was a grain and sugar-free banana bread recipe. It is moist and delicious and very nutritious. I don’t even feel bad when my family cobbles it up in one sitting! Follow the links to check-out the original recipe.
Banana Bread and the Date Mixture that is called for in the recipe. I do find that it tends to stick to the pan a little more than regular banana bread, so I will often line my loaf pan with parchment paper or wax paper. I also add a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter (of course!!). Enjoy!