America’s Favorite Fruit – The Banana?

by Bella Rum

Did you know that? I would have guessed apple. Eating Well

I’m not sure why the apple would have been my first guess. I almost always have bananas sitting in a bowl on my kitchen table. We love them and they’re so very good for you. There are many reasons to love bananas.

One of my favorite reasons to eat them (besides the fact that they’re delicious) is because bananas are one of the best sources of potassium. Potassium aids in lowering blood pressure because it helps counteract the harmful effects of salt intake. Bananas also have significant doses of vitamin C, cell-building B6 and fiber.

The study. You knew there had to be a study.

Researchers found that the participants with the highest risk of cardiovascular complications were those whose urinary sodium was very high in comparison to their urinary potassium.

Paul Whelton, senior author of the study, summarizes: “[P]otassium seems to be effective in lowering blood pressure and the combination of a higher intake of potassium and lower consumption of sodium seems to be more effective than either on its own in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Source: The Doctor Will See You Now

If I was a cliché sort of person, I’d be tempted to mention that a banana a day keeps the doctor away, but I’m simply not that sort.

Another interesting benefit of having bananas around is that they give off enough ethylene gas while they’re ripening to ripen tomatoes and avocados. I always cozy up my avocados in the bowl with the bananas till they’re ripe, but putting them in a paper bag together is even more effective.

So, what could be bad about bananas? Where’s the negative? They ripen very quickly, and they don’t last long once they’re ripe. When your bananas are ripened to the perfect stage, store them in the refrigerator.  The skin will darken, but the banana will still be good, and this prolongs their life. You can also peel and freeze them whole to use for smoothies or baking.

Here’s a recipe that I found over at Eating Well, which is where I found a lot of the information for this post. Caramelized Bananas

From EatingWell:  Winter 2004

The bananas have to get in and out of the pan in 1 1/2 minutes, no longer, so they stay firm in the center. If you are cooking for 4, you can easily double the recipe; it is important not to crowd the skillet, so get everything ready to go and make it in 2 batches.

2 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-small firm bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum, or orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt

Preparation

  1. Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and lay the banana slices on top, cut side up. Cook undisturbed for 20 seconds, then add rum (or orange juice) and cinnamon. Cook for 10 seconds, then turn bananas carefully and cook for 45 to 60 seconds more, basting with the pan sauce. Divide the bananas between 2 dessert plates, drizzling the sauce on top. Serve immediately, with a scoop of ice cream (or frozen yogurt).

Nutrition

Per serving : 342 Calories; 6 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 25 mg Cholesterol; 58 g Carbohydrates; 4 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 50 mg Sodium; 500 mg Potassium

4 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 fruit, 2 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

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