Eating a rainbow of color during the summer months is healthy and easy to accomplish. Grocery stores and farmers markets are teeming with luscious-looking fruits. However, fruits with white flesh also offer healthy benefits during the warmer months and other seasons of the year.
One white fruit that most people enjoy, including babies, and that can be added to any summer fruit salad is the banana. Nutritionally bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C and the minerals potassium and magnesium.
Potassium is probably the most familiar health benefit of this tropical fruit. This mineral helps to maintain blood pressure at desirable levels, and is important for muscle contraction and nerve function.
Add three grams of fiber to the list, and one has a great little food.
But there is yet more goodness in this fruit. Under ripe bananas, those with a little green on the peel are a source of resistant starch, a type of starch that is not digested in the small intestine as other starches are.
The resistant starch travels on to the large intestine where our resident bacteria feed on the starch and produce fatty acids. The resulting fatty acids help to control other bacteria that could make us sick. And resistant starch may help keep blood sugars in line after eating a meal high in carbohydrates.
The best part about bananas is that they are so easy to keep and prepare. Just put a bunch in a bowl on the counter and grab for a quick snack. Bananas are also a sweet addition to the morning cereal, lunchtime peanut butter sandwich or fruit salad, afternoon exercise smoothie, and dinnertime dessert such as a layered pudding parfait.
Overripe bananas can be mashed and added to pancake batter and quick breads. Or, slice and freeze on a cookie sheet in a single layer. After an hour, take out the frozen slices and enjoy. Frozen banana has the texture of ice cream without the additional fat and calories.
To complete the package, bananas are an inexpensive food, costing 44 cents per one cup serving, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Whatever your preference, bananas can add something special to your day.