Naturopathic Kitchen: Bananas

Close up of hands chopping bananas for a smoothie

Bananas are a common staple in many households because of their convenience, affordability, and versatility. In addition to being a great smoothie base or on-the-go snack, bananas are also chock-full of nutrients and provide an array of health benefits.

Good Source of Fiber

Bananas are a good source of both insoluble and soluble fiber, which is what gives them their distinctive texture. 1 Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance that improves digestion, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and helps promote regular bowel movements. 2 Just one medium-sized banana contains three grams of fiber. 3

Promote Heart Health

Bananas are high in potassium, with one medium banana providing 10% of the recommended daily value. 4 Many people struggle to get enough potassium in their diet, so bananas are a valuable way to increase your potassium intake easily. 5 A diet high in potassium may help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. 6 Patients with kidney and other diseases need to be cautious about excess potassium intake.

Bananas are also a good source of magnesium, which helps support heart health as well. 7

Source of Healthy Carbohydrates

Bananas are a good source of healthy carbohydrates, with 29 grams of nutrient-dense carbohydrates in just one medium banana. 8 While many carbohydrates do not have much nutritional value, bananas are a healthy carbohydrate option because they contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. If you want the satisfaction of a carbohydrate-heavy meal while still getting the nutrients your body needs, bananas are an excellent option. They contain flavonoids and amines, which are antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body and may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other degenerative diseases. 9 10

Note that consuming large amounts of banana in one sitting is not recommended for those with diabetes or metabolic instability because it can amplify blood sugar levels.

Simple Banana Oat Pancakes

These banana oat pancakes are perfect whether you’re having a busy morning or a relaxing brunch. With minimal preparation and clean up, they are the perfect go-to when looking for an easy, nourishing, and tasty breakfast.

Recipe courtesy of Bastyr University.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ medium-sized banana
  • 2 eggs
  • Water as needed
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Optional: cinnamon to taste, berry compote, maple syrup, yogurt, fruit, or any other toppings you prefer

Instructions

Combine the oats, banana, eggs, and any other desired optional ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

If the batter doesn’t run off a spoon easily, add water in increments of ½ tablespoon.

Heat a medium-sized skillet or griddle on medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Put butter or oil onto the pan, just enough to coat the surface. Swirl to coat the pan.

Take a rounded tablespoon scoop of batter and pour into the skillet, making 3 mini pancakes.
Flip pancakes after 30 seconds to 1 minute when bubbles appear on top. Once pancakes are flipped, cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown.

Repeat steps until the remaining batter is cooked.

Remove from the pan and serve with berry compote, maple syrup, cinnamon, yogurt, and/or fruit.

 

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