Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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Foodie Friday: Bananas
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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Did you know that there’s a “food holiday” almost every day of the whole year?  Some of them are silly (National Food-on-a-stick Day?!), and some of them promote foods that I don’t think necessarily need more advertising (National Cheese Doodle Day?!), but some of them feature good old fruits and veggies!  Friday August 27th is National Banana Lover’s Day, and even though bananas are already a popular fruit, I wanted to write a bit more about them and how to include them in your diet.

Why They’re Good For You

  • Heart Health.  With an average banana containing almost 500 mg of potassium, bananas are a great source of this vital mineral!  High sodium intakes can increase blood pressure, and with only 1 mg of sodium, bananas are good at helping to regulate high blood pressure.  Sodium and potassium work together in the body to manage blood pressure, so a balance of these two minerals is vital to proper functioning.
  • Exercise Fuel.  Grabbing a banana pre-workout is often a favorite form of fuel, as it has provides just enough energy to get the body moving in the morning.  Potassium is also involved in muscle functioning, so bananas may help to prevent cramps post-workout.
  • Digestion Soother.  If you’ve ever had any digestive issues (especially diarrhea), you may have heard of the B.R.A.T. diet.  Bananas are a key part of this diet, along with rice, applesauce, and toast, which is designed to calm down diarrhea by acting as binders in the body.

Fun Ways to Include Bananas In Your Diet

  • Buy a couple of bunches of ripe bananas, peel and slice into chunks and freeze for quick smoothies later
  • Bananas ripening faster than you can eat them?   Mash them and make banana muffins, breads, or even cookies!
  • Frozen banana chunks, on their own, can be blended together for a version of ice cream “soft-serve”! (Powerful blenders are required for this – try the link on the left side of this page to check out the VitaMix – I’ve got one at home!)
  • Use bananas as the base for a fun yogurt “sundae” : Slice a banana lengthwise and place in a dish, layer plain or vanilla Greek yogurt over top, along with fresh berries, mini chocolate chips, and chopped almonds!

Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie

  • 1 cup of milk (organic cow’s, almond, or hemp)
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced into chunks
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats

Toss the first 5 ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the oats and pulse for a few times until the oats are broken down.  Pour into a large glass or travel mug and enjoy!

Assistance provided by Megan Skinner

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