Bananas: Health Benefits & Recipe Tips

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Americans love bananas, eating as many bananas as apples and oranges combined or roughly 28 pounds of bananas each year. Bananas are also an important — and often necessary — food to have around the house if you are going through cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy and radiation, as well as tumor growth, can cause complications like diarrhea. Long-term diarrhea can deplete our electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride. Bananas are a good source of potassium, an important electrolyte, and they also contain soluble fiber, which helps to bulk up the stool and mitigate diarrhea.

Bananas are also easy on the digestive system and are a great snack if you are feeling nauseous and unable to eat much.

One banana has:

  • Vitamin B6, which is helpful for making the protein hemoglobin that helps carry oxygen around the body
  • Manganese, essential for protecting mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) from free radical damage
  • Vitamin C, to protect us from damage caused by free radicals
  • Potassium, an important electrolyte that helps to maintain fluid balance

Chef Tips

If you have trouble getting in your recommended amount of fruit every day, keep some bananas on the counter, or throw one in your bag for an easy, portable snack.

For long-lasting energy, add protein with a tablespoon of almond or unsweetened peanut butter, or make a sandwich with sliced bananas on whole grain bread.

Bananas make an easy, perfect dessert. In less than 20 minutes you can make Baked Bananas in Coconut with coconut oil, with a dusting of nutmeg. If your banana bunch is browning faster than you can handle, transform them into a delicious Walnut Raisin Banana Bread.

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