Is this the best ‘superfruit’ ever? How just one banana a day can improve your mood, boost FIVE essential nutrients and heal your gut
While many turn to goji berries, quinoa and green tea for their daily dose of 'superfood' goodness, it turns out the humble banana could be the ultimate choice.
The fruit, dubbed the 'perfect long-lasting energy snack' by dietitians across Australia, is packed full of natural carbohydrates and contains five nutrients essential for the body.
From mood boosting benefits to the ability to improve your gut health, these are the reasons why you should be swapping out your sugary afternoon snacks for a banana pronto.
The fruit, dubbed the 'perfect long-lasting energy snack' by dietitians across Australia, is packed full of natural carbohydrates and contains five nutrients essential for the body
1. They can help to heal your gut
While fermented foods like kombucha and kimchi can aid in digestion and balance the good bacteria in your gut, bananas have a similar power - and they're a cheaper alternative.
'Unripened green bananas are one of the richest natural sources of resistant starch, which is a super nutrient for our gut,' dietitian Susie Burrell wrote on her blog.
'So if your tummy is giving you troubles, add a little unripe banana into your yoghurt or smoothie for a natural dose of prebiotics.'
2. They are linked to a reduced risk of developing some diseases
While there is very little data that looks specifically at how foods can effect our long time health, when it comes to bananas the figures look particularly hopeful.
'Dietary patterns linking a high intake of fruits and vegetables repeatedly shows that consuming 7-10 serves of fruits and vegetables per day is linked to a reduced risk of developing some types of cancer, diabetes and heart disease,' Ms Burrell said.
'Specifically there is also data that has shown that children who consume a banana a day have a 30 per cent lower risk of developing asthma.'
'Dietary patterns linking a high intake of fruits and vegetables repeatedly shows that consuming 7-10 serves of fruits and vegetables per day is linked to a reduced risk of developing some types of cancer, diabetes and heart disease,' Ms Burrell (pictured) said
3. They contain five essential nutrients
One banana contains 13 per cent of your daily vitamin B6 needs, 17 per cent for folate, 10 per cent for vitamin C, eight per cent for fibre and 10 per cent for magnesium.
'Australian bananas have a wide range of nutritional benefits - packed with natural carbohydrates, vitamin B6 and potassium, making them ideal in combating muscle fatigue and enhancing optimal brain function,' Ms Burrell said.
'As they are high in fibre and have a low GI, bananas are the perfect snack to give Australians long-lasting energy.'
One banana contains 13 per cent of your daily vitamin B6 needs, 17 per cent for folate, 10 per cent for vitamin C, eight per cent for fibre and 10 per cent for magnesium
4. They are an instant mood booster
If you're feeling the effects of the 3pm slump you might want to reach for a banana over something like a packet of chips.
Bananas contain tryptophan; an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.
The high levels of fibre will also keep you fuller for longer - meaning you won't be suffering from any late night 'hangry' episodes.
Test out the theory on May 1 when Australian Bananas officially celebrates the first ever National Banana Day.
If you're feeling the effects of the 3pm slump you might want to reach for a banana over something like a packet of chips - they can be used in multiple ways (pictured)
5. They can be used as a natural sweetener in baked goods
Whenever there is the desire to make healthy snack foods at home, one of the biggest issues is what to use in place of added sugar when baking bars, bites and fruit breads.
'When you keep a couple of frozen bananas in the freezer you can add to baked goods to give the sweetness fruit breads, muffins and bites need minus the added sugars found in many bars and bites,' Ms Burrell said.
This ingenious hack can be used in the Milo Weetbix-banana loaf. Just follow the recipe below.
How do you make Milo Weet-Bix banana loaf?
Serves 8, prep 15 mins, cooking time 50 mins
* Two cups self-raising flour
* One tsp bicarbonate of soda
* ½ cup raw sugar
* ½ cup Milo
* ½ cup crushed Weet-Bix
* Two large Cavendish Bananas
* One cup milk
* Two eggs, lightly beaten
* Extra sliced banana and sprinkling cinnamon sugar, to serve
Milo Weet-Bix banana loaf (pictured)
1. Preheat oven 170°C fan forced. Grease and line 7cm deep, 13.5x24cm (base measurement) loaf pan.
2. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, Milo and Weet-Bix. Coarsely mash the bananas. Add to the flour with the milk and eggs. Stir gently to combine.
3. Spoon into loaf pan and smooth the surface. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand five minutes in the pan before lifting onto a wire rack to cool.
4. Slice and serve topped with extra sliced banana and sprinkling cinnamon sugar.
Tip You need one cup mashed banana, if the bananas are small you may need three or four.
Tip The loaf is delicious toasted and served warm with butter and sliced banana.
Tip The loaf freezes well, making it ideal for the lunch box. Wrap slices in plastic then in foil and place into a snap lock bag. It will freeze for up to 6 weeks.