How to transform your bananas into a nutritional treasureTom Levin
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Don’t throw out those brown bananas! Transform them into a nutritional treasure
Frozen bananas are among the most versatile ingredients to have on hand, regardless of weather. You can use them in your morning shake, or create a light ice cream-like dessert to end lunch or dinner on a sweet note. Before we go bananas talking about bananas, we figured it would be best to start at the beginning – way back in the beginning, when fruits weren’t as easy to come by.
Fruits are among the oldest foods on the planet. Interestingly, if we were to travel millions of years back in time, and find ourselves in the ancient world, when the human race still hadn’t developed and the Earth was inhabited by various others mammals – we’d still find more than one sugar addict in the bunch. Moreover, even the plant life that adapted to their surroundings grew sweeter and sweeter fruits, so that our sugar loving ancestors would eat them and spread their seeds far and wide. It’s no secret that plants also have one agenda – procreation – and Darwin’s theory of evolution overwhelmingly called for more sweet stuff.
Fortunately, by the time early Homo sapiens roamed Africa 2.5 million years ago, they had plenty of fruit trees standing by for the picking. In fact, archaeologists recently uncovered 780,000 year old fig leftovers in the northern region of Israel.
But, back to bananas; bananas have undergone many changes throughout the years. To better understand ancient bananas, it’s enough to look to its harder and less sugary cousin – the plantain. Given that fruit, including bananas, have been around for millions of years, our digestive system is exceptionally adapted to their consumption, and is able to produce energy and nutritional value from them relatively easily. Some say, humans are able to subsist solely on bananas for several years without suffering any major deficiencies. Further, many fruits nowadays are best consumed only if grown organically, due to the risk posed by using various insecticides. However, thanks to their hard peel and harvesting methods, bananas are not on that list.
- Bananas contain dopamine – a mood boosting chemical
- Bananas are rich in B6 – a great vitamin to consume for anaemia, or to calm the nervous system
- Bananas contain a hefty dose of magnesium, known to strengthen bones and the heart
- Bananas are rich in flavonoids – a group of nutrients known for having exceptionally high levels of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents
- Bananas contain 467 mg of potassium, great for decreasing blood pressure
- Bananas contain plenty of nutritional fibre
- Bananas contain only 1 mg of sodium
Surprising uses for bananas:
- The inner part of its peel can be used to soothe mosquito bites
- Banana consumption can decrease stress, alleviate PMS symptoms, constipation, and heartburn
- Eating a banana before a workout can prevent cramping
- They can be used to make the healthiest ice cream in the entire world
If you’ve got spare bananas laying around and they’ve even begun to go brown – this is precisely the moment to peel them and place them in your freezer. Soon enough, they’ll be turned into healthy and satisfying ice cream.
Recipe: Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
- 3 frozen bananas (peel before freezing)
- 1 tbsp organic cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp / 1 tsp natural syrup: maple syrup, date syrup or agave nectar – to taste, we suggest starting with a teaspoon and adding more syrup should you want to sweeten it
Blend all ingredient together, stir and serve immediately. To upgrade your dessert, drizzle vegan chocolate syrup on top. If you don’t have any on hand, easily make it yourself by mixing ¼ cup coconut oil with 1/3 cup cocoa powder and 1/8 cup maple syrup. Garnish with chopped cocoa beans or walnuts on top, and enjoy!
There are millions of variations on this ice cream, so we’ll only include a sample of our favourite add-ons to the original recipe. Try each of them separately and find your favourite!
- Add frozen mango chunks
- Add frozen berries
- Add a tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- Add a tablespoon of raw tahini and date syrup
- Add vegan chocolate syrup