Benefits of Bananas

Bananas contain the natural sugars glucose, fructose and sucrose, which are good sources of energy. It also contains the minerals iron, which is beneficial to the red blood cells; and potassium, which helps in proper muscle and nerve function. Potassium has likewise been known to aid in stress relief because it normalizes the heartbeat and regulates the body’s water balance. In addition to its potassium content, bananas are low in sodium, which makes it ideal in preventing high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Some studies have shown that regular consumption of the fruit reduced strokes by as much as forty percent. The fiber content in a banana aids in digestion and reduces hyperacidity in the stomach.

Another beneficial substance present in the banana is vitamin B6, which helps in the proper function of the nerves and brain. It also helps in detoxification and enhances the immune system. Thus, it is effective against cancer prevention, allergies and alleviating the pain and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome in women.

Selection and Storage

Bananas are usually harvested while still green and then shipped for selling. In the market or grocery stores, you will find bananas of different colors: red, green and the predominant yellow. Choosing the right banana depends on when you are going to eat it. Unripe ones (still green) will last for several days while those which are already yellow, with brown spots in them, should be consumed in a day or two.

Select bananas that are firm, bright, with no cut in the peel. The stems and tips should be intact as well. This fruit comes in a variety of sizes, so you need to choose the most appropriate one for your smoothie.

Bananas are soft fruits with soft peels and are very fragile. Store them in a place where they will be protected from bruising. Let them ripen at room temperature and never refrigerate an unripe banana because this will disrupt the ripening process. Ripe bananas, however, can be stored in the refrigerator. When this is done, the peel will turn brown but this will not affect the pulp. When you want to store them for a long time, you can freeze them.

Before freezing, peel the skin and sprinkle a small amount of lemon juice over the pulp to help prevent oxidation and discoloration. You can then slice them up and wrap them in plastic. It is a good idea to freeze the bananas in single servings. This way, it will be very easy for you to take them out of the freezer and have just the right amount to mix in your smoothie.

Next Article: Banana Smoothie Recipes