They’re New Zealand’s top-selling fruit and we regard them as a little ho-hum. They make great snacks, breakfasts-on-the-run and lunchbox fillers. They’re superb in sweet and savoury salads, sautéed with bacon, mashed into cakes and flambéed with brandy. But bananas offer more.
According to the World Health Organization, we need to eat at least 3,510 mg of potassium per day and less than 2,000 mg of sodium (that is, 1 teaspoon of table salt). Too much sodium and not enough potassium in the diet increases the risk of high blood pressure, and consequently heart disease and stroke. One medium-sized banana contains a whopping 400-plus mg of potassium. So including bananas in your menu helps maintain normal blood pressure and heart function.
Bananas are also:
- A good source of fibre and about one-third of the fibre is water-soluble which assists in decreasing the risk of heart disease. Fibre also keeps your digestive system regulated.
- Rich in B-vitamins that help maintain a healthy metabolism and reduce the health risks associated with type 2 diabetes.
- Low GI even though they taste sweet.
- Low in fat and what fat there is can block the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
Fresh bananas are readily available but I love to keep a pack of OOB Organic Frozen Sliced Bananas in the freezer to add to smoothies or to mash and add to bakes. They also make a great soft-serve ice cream — just throw the frozen slices in a blender and whizz with a little yoghurt, milk or cream, until smooth.
Tip: Three medium bananas produce about 1 cup of mashed banana. Get the recipe
Store in the freezer for a moreish crunchy treat. Get the recipe
This popular bread is often served toasted in coffee shops. I used OOB Frozen Organic Sliced Bananas that I thawed slightly before mashing. Get the recipe