B A N A N A S. I ain’t no hollaback girl, but I am a banana crazy girl. I could live off of bananas and peanut butter. I always felt guilty about my love for bananas because I had heard that bananas were a detriment to a weight loss diet and too high in sugar and carbs. So imagine my surprise when I read that not only bananas are one of the top 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, but also that bananas are a weight loss tool, according to the book ‘The Carb Lovers Diet.”
Yes, I know, I gave into the hype and bought the latest diet book. I tried to resist the urge to add another diet book to my growing collection (Abs Diet, The Decadent Diet, South Beach and Volumetrics, just to name a few), but when I browsed through the recipes and drooled over the amazing pictures in this book, I couldn’t resist.
The Carb Lovers Diet promotes what is called “resistant starch” which is basically a carbohydrate that resists digestion. Nearly 200 studies, conducted at universities and research centers across the globe, found that “resistant starch” acts as an appetite suppressant, metabolism booster and blood sugar stabilizer. So where can you find resistant starch? You can find it in a variety of healthy carbohydrate foods that you are probably already eating, like oatmeal, potatoes, brown rice, beans and the crème de la crème – bananas. Green bananas have the highest resistant starch level of any other food, topping the scale with 12.5 grams for one banana. As the banana ripesn it loses some of its’ resistant starch, but even a ripe banana comes in second with 4.7 grams. I am actually one of the few people who actually prefers a green banana to a ripe one, so I was excited to hear this.
Not only are bananas high in resistant starch, but they also are packed with fiber and potassium. Have you noticed that they almost always have bananas on the snack table after a racing event? This is because the potassium in bananas help with electrolyte balance, cell integrity, fluid and maintaining a steady heartbeat! A drop in potassium levels can make one weak, tired and prone to muscle cramps. This makes bananas a great after-run snack!
Another great health benefit of bananas is that they are high in fructoogliosaccharides. What in the world is that? Have you heard all the hype about probiotics and “gut health”? Well, instead of going out and buying the “designer foods” that claim they have probiotics, just pick up a banana because fructoogliosaccharides promote the good bacteria in your gut. Bananas have the highest level of fructoogliosaccharides than any other fruit and have been known throughout the ages to be a remedy for digestive issues.
So what about the sugar issue? That is just a bunch of hype. Bananas have a glycemic load of 12, which puts it in the medium range. There are a lot worse culprits of sugar than the innocent banana. So, eat up guilt free!
How do you enjoy bananas? Do you like green bananas or only ripe ones?
One of my favorite ways to enjoy a banana is topped on my bowl of museli topped with almond milk. It makes my tummy rumble just thinking about it! Another one of my favorite ways to eat a banana (other than plain and coated in chocolate) is this oatmeal recipe I made up last week. It is delicious and filling! Try it and let me know what you think!
Stacy’s Crazy Oatmeal
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup water
- ½ banana
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 Tbsp almonds
- 1 Tbsp raisins
- 1 Tbsp Silk Almond Milk (if needed)
- ½ tsp Brown Sugar Splenda
Mix the 1st five ingredients (through pumpkin pie spice) in a microwave proof bowl. Mash the banana a little, but leave a few chunks. Microwave according to the oatmeal package instructions. Add a little bit of silk almond milk if the mixture is too thick. Sprinkle the raisins, almonds and brown sugar Splenda on top and mix until combined. Enjoy!