Have you ever seen a banana tree?
Bananas are a staple in my diet but it took a few decades until I finally saw a banana tree during my travels.
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Nutritional benefits of bananas
Bananas are one of the most nutritious fruits – they’re packed with potassium which helps to regulate blood pressure, fiber which helps to ease constipation and they contain slow release sugars which act as an energy booster. Bananas are a great snack, especially when hungry, because they’re both nutritious and filling.
Interestingly, bananas are considered a heavy food in Ayurveda because they take a longer time to digest. It’s recommended, therefore, to eat them earlier in the day and preferably a few hours before going to sleep. At night, the body’s metabolism is at its weakest and it’s winding down, getting ready to sleep.
Why food combination is important to consider, according to Ayurveda
Another interesting thing I learned in my study of Ayurveda is that *how we combine* foods influences digestion as well. Digestion is key because it’s not just what we eat, but also what nutrients our body absorbs that matters.
I was surprised to learn that the combo of bananas and milk, which is commonly eaten together, is challenging to digest because their qualities are so different. To optimize digestion, it’s recommended to not combine these two.
If your morning routine, like mine, includes a smoothie on-the-go … and you usually add a banana and milk to the mix, consider swapping out milk for water. For a thicker consistency, I sometimes add organic coconut milk (no guar) or an avocado. The riper the banana, the sweeter it is, and the higher the antioxidant level.
Here’s just a few of the wonderful nutrients in a ripe banana: Vitamin C, fibre, potassium, manganese, Vitamin B6, and the antioxidants glutathione, phenolics, delphidinin, rutin, naringin (more on these antioxidants in a future post).
Banana-coconut smoothie recipe
For a simple banana smoothie, consider adding the following to a blender and pressing play: ripe banana, water, a couple dates, a couple almonds, 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk (fresh Thai coconut recommended), chia seeds, dash of cinnamon or nutmeg (to support digestion).