Have you ever been left with one really black banana that you’re disguised to even touch? But it keeps staying in the bowl of fruits until you decide it’s time to let it go. I don’t like wasting food, and bananas are especially good when it comes to baking and cooking, so don’t throw them away- just be creative. Why waste something that can be put into good use??
According to a meta-analysis done in Victoria University, Melbourne (2017), unripe bananas may have a benefit with controlling gastrointestinal problems– e.g. diarrhoea and ulcers. They may also decrease blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Moreover, there are some suggestions that the lectins in the content of green bananas can help alleviate HIV symptoms.
On the other hand, overripe bananas are not very pleasant to eat, according to the general public, since they are squishy and stickier. The nutritional content of the banana alters as it ripens. Overripe bananas are still healthy, filled with antioxidants and way easier to digest than green bananas. They usually contain starches which turn to single sugars in the process of ripening, which explains why they become sweeter and easier for digestion.
However, as they age- their levels of nutrients rises and the dark spots that appear on them are 8 times more powerful when enhancing the power of white blood cells (Iwasawa and Yamazaki 2009). White blood cells are the cells that fight infections from different pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Health benefits of bananas
They are rich in many vitamins, antioxidants and fibre that the body needs to function well. Bananas are rich in:
- folic acid
- vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- antioxidants (can provide protection from free radicals which we are exposed to daily)
Potassium is an electrolyte that keeps electricity flowing throughout the body and helps with proper beating of the heart. Since bananas are high in this mineral and low in sodium, it is believed that they may protect the cardiovascular system against issues such as hypertension (FDA 2020; Szalay 2017).
Mood and psychological issues
There are high levels of tryptophan in bananas, which is usually converted to serotonin- the happy hormone. That’s why, this fruit can have a beneficial effect over our psychological health. Moreover, bananas contain vitamin B6, which helps with sleep, and magnesium- which relaxes the muscles (Szalay 2017).
Digestive properties and weight reduction
Due to bananas’ high fiber content (10% of daily recommendations), weight loss can be achieved easier because they are filling and can curb cravings. Moreover, the resistant starch in bananas supports digestive health by increasing production of short chain fatty acids and controls blood sugar levels (Szalay 2017).
Physical activity replenishment
We have all heard about replenishing sports drinks that all sport enthusiasts consume. They are very needed and I don’t say that they don’t have their purpose, but we can find a healthier option to support our bodies after a workout. Bananas can be a good choice as a post-workout snack since they contain serotonin and dopamine which improve antioxidant capacity and fight oxidative stress (Szalay 2017). To enhance the replenishing snack- you can add a glass of milk, which will provide essential macronutrients and electrolytes.
Although bananas are very health, they should be eaten in moderation as they are very sugary, so consuming too many of them can promote poor dental hygiene (tooth decay) and weight gain as they are high in calories and simple sugars. Additionally, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, overconsumption of bananas can cause hyperkalemia, which is too much potassium in the blood. This can result in muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and irregular heartbeat.
What did I do with my overripe banana?
I love scrolling through recipe ideas in my free time, so when I decide to cook/bake something, I always have a recipe to follow, but I never ever stick to it. So this is no exception.
You’ll need exactly 5 ingredients: eggs, shredded coconut, low-fat quark, vanilla and a banana. In a bowl- smash the banana with a fork and mix it with 1 egg. They add the quark, vanilla and shredded coconut. In a mixer, beat 2 egg whites until they rise and carefully add them to the mixture. Preheat your oven to 150C and pour the mix in your desired shapes- I chose sillicone mini shapes. Then bake until brown. I got 45 mini bites out of this recipe and they were very delicious when they were a bit warm. Just a tiny recommendation- it is good to eat them on the very same day you made them, because I realised that as they stayed- they turned harder.
You’ll find out the recipe down below as well.
SZALAY, J., 2017. Bananas: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts. [online]. New York, NY: Live Science. Available from: https://www.livescience.com/45005-banana-nutrition-facts.html [Accessed 16 November 2020].
APOSTOLOPOULOS, V. et al., 2017. Let’s Go Bananas! Green Bananas and their Health Benefits. Prilozi, 38(2), pp. 147-151.
IWASAWA, H. and YAMAZAKI, M., 2009. Differences in biological response modifier-like activities according to the strain and maturity of bananas. Food Science and Technology Research Journal, 15(3), pp. 275-282.
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA), 2020. Sodium in your diet. [online]. FDA: United States of America. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet [Accessed 16 November 2020].