In recent years, I’ve come across blogs, diet plans, people and fitness gurus who have claimed we shouldn’t really eat bananas or at the very least, bananas are not the best choice. Like this one, and this one (that’s kind of on the fence about them).
First, I don’t subscribe to any opinion that states we can’t eat a naturally occurring fruit or vegetable. If you can pick it off of a tree and eat it, it’s a pure, whole, nutrition powerhouse. It’s what we are supposed to be eating, not the other way around.
Eating should be more about nutrition and not as much about the waistline. If you take care of the nutrition, weight follows.
Bananas are fruit and have fructose and can affect blood sugar levels, but a banana is pretty low on the glycemic index until it becomes over-rippened, when the sugars naturally increase (turning to simple), but even then it isn’t considered high glycemic. There are lot’s of opinions out there about fruits in general, but that’s another day… Fruit is nature’s desert and should be consumed (or thought of) as such. It is a perfect means to sweeten. Using naturally occurring sugars instead of processed and refined is always a superior choice.
No one is obese because they ate too much fruit! So let’s just stop acting like fruit makes us fat! Fruit makes us fat only when combined with and is an addition to terrible other food choices. The banana is not the problem.
The Mighty Banana
A banana has almost zero fat, sodium and cholesterol. It has tons of fiber, decent amount of Vitamin B6, Maganese, Potassium and Vitamin C.
Do you ever see the nutritive values listed for a food and wonder what on earth you need some of the vitamins and minerals for?
Fiber – fiber is what helps to cleanse our bodies of toxins, ushering things through the digestive tract and out the other end. It helps to lower our cholesterol levels and to keep us feeling full. Fiber is not digestible, so it moves through our system intact, taking the toxins out with it.
Vitamin B6 – is a water soluble vitamin that helps our brain and nerve cells to communicate with one another and ensures our bodies metabolize protein and fat. It is vital for immune function, especially as we age.
Maganese – is a dietary trace mineral that is necessary for our skin enzymes and helps to protect against free radical damage. It’s also essential for bone building and connective tissue health.
The banana is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are good! You need them in order for your body to function at it’s best. Obviously, the best choice of carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables and whole grains like steel cut oats (if you eat grains). Carbohydrates are not as healthy when you do not have balance in your diet and a disproportionately large percentage is carbs. That’s very common in the American diet. We are carb over loaders, and usually not the good kind of carbs.
Each day when you choose to eat something, go for the most nutrient rich food possible for every meal and snack. The banana qualifies!
Super Training Tip:
As a Personal Trainer, I seriously value the protein shake if you are following any kind of worthwhile strength training program. It’s kind of difficult to have chicken every time you need a dose of protein. However, I’m not a fan of the supplement industry and its way of adding so many un-needed and un-proven (even sometimes scary) ingredients into the supplement shake. I’m also not on the stevia bandwagon like the rest of the world and it seems a lot pf protein powders contain stevia.
How do I avoid all the bad additives? I buy pure organic hemp protein powder, which tastes awful. I don’t want to use sugar, artificial sweeteners or even agave or honey, but cannot stand the taste of hemp powder. I want to drink a pure and nutritious shake without any harmful additives. So this is what I do and the banana is a big part of it:
Mash several over-ripened bananas. And I mean over-ripened! Almost black!
Freeze the banana mash in a mini muffin pan. Set it out to thaw slightly before removing the banana to be stored in an airtight plastic bag or container in the freezer.
In the morning, before you leave, add 8-oz of your choice of milk (I use organic unsweetened rice milk) and one or two of the frozen banana sections to your shaker bottle. It should be thawed and ready to use in about two hours.
Take your powders with you, but don’t mix them into the milk yet.
When you’re ready to drink it, add your powder protein of choice and one teaspoon of organic cocoa powder and shake vigorously (I use a shaker bottle with the round wire ball).
The finished product is a healthy version of a protein shake. There’s no need to ingest a bunch of foreign or toxic ingredients.
Need a few more reasons to eat the Mighty Banana? Read this!
I did stumble across ONE point of view that I am on board with, for not eating bananas and it has nothing to do with them being a “bad food”. I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself.
To see the full nutrition data for a banana = http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2.