Like potatoes (that I talked about last week), bananas unfortunately have a bad rep. One of the main issues is that they contain “too many calories” or that they are “too high in sugar”. Let’s just see, shall we?
Did you know that bananas are botanically a berry?? I know I didn’t! Don’t you just love science? I do :)
They are in fact one of the world’s most popular fruits! And interestingly enough they will have different nutrients at different stages of ripeness. When they are green (or unripe), they have been shown to help with some digestive problems like diarrhea and may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. And when they are more yellow/ripe, they seem to have more nutrients and have been shown to help increase your white blood cells!
A medium sized, ripe banana, has about 100-120 calories, 0g fat, 3 g fibre, 13% of your potassium for the day and 15% of your vitamin C. Because of this, bananas have always been shown to help with your heart. On the flip side, they do carry a whopping 19 g of naturally occurring sugars. Now, this doesn’t mean that they are bad for you, it just means that you probably could do with eating just one and a medium to small sized at that! This is usually where they can get a bad name for themselves, but overall the health benefits do seem to outweigh the negatives.
Here are some more interesting facts about bananas!
- There are almost 1000 different varieties of bananas!
- Botanically there really is no difference between a banana and a plantain. Banana is the sweeter version and plantain is the starchy version
- A bunch of bananas is called a hand and a single banana is a finger!
- Did you know that the peel is edible?! It’s actually packed with nutrients like vitamins B6, B12, potassium and magnesium!! (Note: please wash the peel first before eating it, as it may contain pesticides)
Do you eat bananas?
They are either loved by some and/or well feared by some. Are potatoes really that bad? Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Potatoes are a tuber. What this means is that they are basically a root and if allowed to flower, the potato will grow a green plant that will flower an inedible fruit. Anyway! They belong to the nightshade family; like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers ad tomatillos.
They are considered a staple for many countries and cultures. They are available year round as well. They are quite healthy. Potatoes are low calorie and high in fibre. They are rich in vitamin B6 and a great source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and vitamin B5. They are also quite high in antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids.
What makes people so afraid of them? Well, for the most part, people eat them deep fried and covered in salt. Also, the amounts of them we eat. Overall, potatoes are quite healthy for us, but not in a French fry or chip form. And maybe don’t always have them covered in butter, sour cream and/or cheese all the time, eh? There are many ways to cook them healthier; like boiled, baked, mashed, roasted or even scalloped.
How do you choose potatoes? You are better to buy them unpackaged, this way, you inspect each one for decomposition. They should be firm and free of decay. You don’t want to choose ones that sprouts are already growing or have green spots. Did you know that the green spots may indicate a toxin called alkaloid solanine that could cause some health issues – so just avoid them :) How should they be stored? Ideally, in a cool, dry, dark place away from onions and not in the refrigerator. Otherwise they will each emit a gas that can degrade each one. Paper bags are the best option. Mature potatoes can be kept for at least 2 months, while new potatoes are much more sensitive and can really only last about 1 week.
I love roasted potatoes the best! What’s your favourite way to eat them?
I work as a Dietitian and definitely walk the talk. I love to cook and help people get back to being healthy again.