When it comes to nutrition the humble banana is a real powerhouse! It is packed with energy-giving carbohydrates and heart-healthy potassium.
According to BBC Goodfood bananas are the UK’s most popular fruit. On average we each eat 10kg of bananas every year (about 100 bananas). We can back this up at Barannes, where we go through lots of bananas every day. They make a fantastic base for smoothies and as you will read below are really healthy.
Bananas have a distinct shape and a firm but creamy flesh inside a thick, inedible peel. While people think of bananas as having yellow skin, their colour changes from green (underripe) to yellow (ripe) to brown (overripe).
Although it looks like a tree, the banana is actually a plant. The banana plant grows up to 15 metres and belongs to the same family as the lily and orchid. Bananas grow in clusters of 50-150, with individual bananas grouped in bunches known as ‘hands’ of 10-20 at a time.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and supply vitamin B6, fibre and carbohydrate, and some vitamin C. Since they have a lower water content than most fruit, bananas typically have more calories as well as a higher sugar content compared to other non-tropical fruits.
A 100g serving provides 81kcal, 20.3g of carbohydrate, 1.4g fibre and 18.1g of natural sugar.
Unripe bananas have a higher starch content. As they ripen, the starch is converted to sugar (and the fruit becomes sweeter). Green bananas are also a good source of pectin, which is a type of dietary fibre found in fruits and helps them keep their structural form. Pectin breaks down when a banana becomes overripe, which causes the fruit to become softer.
Bananas are loaded with valuable micronutrients, especially potassium. Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the body, helping to regulate heart function as well as fluid balance – a key factor in regulating blood pressure. The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, in lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and strokes is well accepted and bolstered by considerable scientific evidence.
Bananas are soothing to the gastrointestinal tract due to their high content of pectin – as soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but normalises bowel function. The high fibre content of bananas promote satiety (feelings of fullness).
The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to keep gut bacteria happy by increasing the production of short chain fatty acids for digestive health.
Banana Based Smoothies
Banana makes the perfect base ingredient in any smoothie. We currently have 14 banana based smoothies on offer at both our Juice Bars. These include firm favourites like the Stress Buster, Morning Boost and Bee Active, to our more specialised drinks such as the Gym Punch and Go Go Celery. Whether you like sweet smoothies or green healthy drinks we can guarantee to find something banana based that you will love.
Did you know?
The inside of a banana skin can be used to calm an itchy mosquito bite - many people find that rubbing the bite with the skin helps to reduce irritation.