Maredith's Blog-Benefits and delicious recipes for bananas

Everyone loves bananas and they are so good for you. Its amazing the benefits that the perfect fruit can give you...it comes in its own package.  The problem is that you buy a bunch of green bananas and if you dont eat them quick enough,they are quickly getting over-ripe...so I have added some delicious recipes to use the over-ripe bananas and you can still enjoy their benefits.

Have you watched tennis? If yes, you must have definitely seen some tennis players eating bananas when they get a break; do you know why they take bananas when there are lots of other fruits available? It is because bananas contain high amount of carbohydrates that will help the players to get the energy they require to play the match. We shall look at more health benefits of bananas.

1. Bananas regulate the bowel system: Are you suffering from constipation? The best solution to constipation is eating a banana a day. This is one of the major health benefits of bananas. Bananas are rich in fiber that helps in regulating the bowel functions.

2. Bananas reduce the risk of heart diseases and blood pressure: You might be surprised to hear this health benefit of bananas; yes, bananas reduce the risk of heart diseases as well as lowers blood pressure levels. How? Bananas are rich in potassium, which is very vital for the muscle contraction and proper functioning of the heart and nervous system. Do you know how much of potassium is required a day? It is just 4g and you get this by eating a banana. Isn’t this health benefit of banana amazing?

3. Bananas reduce depression: Tryptophan acids are present in bananas and these help in reducing depression and thereby improve your mood. Studies show that bananas are also helpful in reducing stress levels. In this age of stress, this health benefit of banana is truly great.

4. Eat bananas for healthy bones: What do you require for healthy bones? One requires calcium for healthy bones, am I right? Probiotic bacteria help in absorbing calcium and increasing the digestive ability. This helpful bacterium is present in bananas. Green bananas are especially helpful in absorbing calcium.

5. Reduce menstrual pains with bananas: Do you get menstrual pains? Majority of the women folk take pills to reduce menstrual pains. Rather taking these pain killers eat a banana. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 that helps in regulating blood glucose levels. This helps in balancing your overall mood and hence reduces menstrual pains. I found this health benefit of banana very useful. How about you?

6. Bananas help ulcer patients: Another major health benefit of bananas is their capability of fighting intestinal disorders. Eating a raw banana reduces irritation in the stomach and reduces the effect of over acidity.

7. Bananas and anemia: Bananas are not only rich in potassium but also rich in iron; therefore, eating a banana increases iron and thereby high hemoglobin. When hemoglobin content is increased, naturally anemic conditions decreases. Forgot those pills for anemia and take a banana. Wow…yet another amazing health benefit of banana.

8. Quit smoking by eating bananas: Another amazing health benefit of banana is that it helps people who wish to quit smoking. Smokers have a high level of nicotine; minerals in banana like potassium and magnesium and vitamins B6 and B12 help in reducing nicotine. Smokers, take a note of this and quit smoking by taking bananas.

9. Bananas increase brain power: A survey was conducted very recently among 200 students at a school in Middlesex. They were given bananas along with their normal diet for their breakfast, break and lunch. Research proved that potassium in bananas helped to increase their mental alertness and boost brain power. Remember this health benefit of banana and make your child eat a banana everyday to score high in studies.

10. Reduce itching of mosquito bites with bananas: What do you normally do when there is an itching or swelling due to mosquito bites? We go in for creams that reduce itching and swelling. Rather using these creams, use banana peels. Rub the itching or swelling area with the inside of banana peels and see for yourself how soon you get relief from mosquito bite itching or swelling.

With these health benefits of bananas, I am sure everybody will now start to grab bananas and there will be acute shortage of bananas.

                 Banana Cookies

2 3/4 c flour                                                                              1 1/4 c sugar (divided)

1  tsp baking soda                                                                    1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt                                                                               1 egg

1 cup margarine or butter (softened)                                       1 lg or 2 small ripe bananas(mashed)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine four,soda and salt,set aside in bowl.

Beat margarine or butter, 1 cup sugar and brown sugar.  Beat in egg, then added mashed banana.

Stir in  flour mixture.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnite.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Mix 1/4 c sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Roll balls in mixture and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at *350 degrees for 10-12 minutes per batch.

I usually make a double batch because they go so quickly. Enjoy!!! Oh and they are good for you because they are made with bananas.

      Cinnamon Swirl Banana bread

for the bread:

3 over-ripe bananas, mashed up

1/3 cup melted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg,beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

dash of salt

1 1/2 cups flour

for the swirl:

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to *350. Butter and flour in a 9x5 loaf pan.

Mix bananas,butter,sugar,egg and vanilla together.  Sprinkle baking soda and salt around top of the banana mixutre.  Then gently stir in flour.  Be care not to over-mix.

In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 TBS cinnamon.

Add 1/2 of the batter in pan and then sprinkle half the mixture over the batter. Add the rest of the batter into the pan and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes,and check to make sure it doesnt get too brown.  Delicious!