Bananas get a bad rap but deserve respect

Even though grocery stores sell more bananas than any other fruit, (my son told me that when working in the produce department of Loblaws years ago) the jury is out on whether they are good for you or not.  Some believe their high starch and (natural) sugar (fructose) content should be avoided when watching your weight.  Others believe their high potassium and fiber levels as well as good protein content are all good for our muscles and energy levels before and after a workout.  The potassium also helps regulate blood pressure levels. So, who is right?  Both, it just depends on your goals.

For example, if I am trying to lose a few pounds I avoid bananas, relying on healthy food choices with less starch and sugar levels. That’s because this sugar and starch causes a rise in insulin levels which in turn results in fat storage.  Not good if you are battling those dreaded love handles or sporting a not so flat stomach.  My diet motto however is “moderation is key.”  I believe if you totally restrict things you like, you will tend to crave them more.

Bananas are very convenient for providing a quick energy boost and light snack.  They do not require refrigeration and transport easily.  In fact, I resort to one often when working in my gardens because I can easily peel one without touching the edible portion with my not so clean fingers.  They also provide creaminess in my morning smoothies and make an excellent substitution for unhealthy fats in baked goods.  I also found them effective at reducing morning sickness way back when. But only if almost green, the over ripe ones made me gag.

Bananas are also particularly effective after a bout of the intestinal spasms and diarrhea experienced when I eat something I am sensitive to.  That is because bananas represent the B in the BRAT diet (with rice, apple sauce and toast) I learned about when my kids were young.  All bland foods, these four staples were recommended to get their system back to normal after flu symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.  For the same reason, bananas are reportedly good for curing hangovers.

In my humble opinion, bananas get a bad rap, with the pros far outweighing the cons.  For that reason, there is always a bunch of bananas on my kitchen counter.  Not to mention my grandchildren love them.

bananas

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