Did you know that Bananas do not grow on trees? A Banana plant may look like a tree, but it is actually a Tropical Herbaceous plant that grows from a corm (like a bulb) and the trunk is not made of wood but of leaf sheaths. The true stem of the plant, grows up inside these and when it gets to the top, flowers and ultimately produces bananas. So there's one for the next Pub Quiz!
Seriously though, Bananas are extremely good for us in so many ways. Scientists have found many health benefits â€“ for example:-
1. Bananas are one of the best sources of vitamin B6 you can get. One banana provides about one fifth of your daily requirement of this vitamin. B6 is vital for a healthy immune system as it is essential in the process of making antibodies, it helps in the manufacture of haemoglobin in the blood. It also has 'feel good factor' in that it helps in the conversion of Tryptophan to Seratonin which has a soothing and calming effect on our brains.
2. Bananas are also rich in the mineral potassium, vital in keeping our hearts and nervous systems working at optimum levels. In some scientific research studies, it has been discovered that there is a link between a low potassium level and an increased risk of stroke and higher blood pressure. Potassium is also vital in reducing the risk of Osteoporosis as it helps to prevent calcium being lost in our urine this has another benefit which is that it reduces the risk of kidney stones.
3. Bananas are rich in fibre. Fibre is vital for the healthy functioning of our digestive systems, not only reducing problems such as constipation and haemorrhoids, but also reducing our long term risk of developing cancers of the bowel and colon.
Bananas are a good source of many other vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium which is also vital for minimising problems with Osteoporosis as the body needs magnesium in balance with calcium.
My favourite Banana Smoothie Recipe is a Banana and Blueberry Smoothie which has the additional antioxidants contained in superfruit Blueberries.
60 g (1/2 cup) of Blueberries
1 small pot of natural probiotic yoghourt
110 ml or 1/2 cup of milk (use soy milk, rice milk or almond milk if you are making dairy alternative smoothies)
Freeze the banana peeled and cut into chunks with the blueberries overnight, (or any time prior to making your smoothie).
Put the fruits into the smoothie maker followed by the yoghourt and then the milk.
Blend for about 30 seconds until completely smooth.
This recipe is a particularly good breakfast 'pick-me-up'.
Tip: You will find that a smoothie maker is much more powerful than a home blender and buying one will enable you to blend frozen fruits (which give a much more creamy smoothie) with ease.