MALIBU WAY OF LIFE | By Jody Stump
Although apples get credit for “keeping the doctor away,” it’s really bananas that are the world’s greatest super food. A single banana contains all the nutrients humans need to survive, including eight amino acids the body cannot produce by itself. In fact, compared to the apple, it has four times the protein, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice all the other common vitamins.
A few weeks ago I got an e-mail blast from a friend listing pages of things a banana can do for you. Here are a few:
Make you happy
Bananas contain trytophan, the natural protein that your body converts to serotonin, the brain’s mood elevator. And if it’s PMS that makes you grumpy, scrap the pills and eat a banana. The vitamin B6 regulates blood glucose levels and makes you feel better.
This year, 200 British students got a boost during exams when they were given a banana at every meal. The yellow bullet packs enough potassium to increase the brain’s efficiency and boost test scores.
Cure a hangover
An article from Canada insists that a honey-banana milk shake will repair an evening’s alcohol damage fast-the banana’s an antacid that calms the stomach and milk helps restore the body’s depleted hydration.
Help you quit smoking
Bananas contain all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to kick nicotine: B6, B12, potassium and magnesium.
Stop the itch of a bug bite
The science eludes me on this, but try it. Rub the bite with the inside of a banana skin. An old Malay trick.
Reduce the threat of a stroke
The New England Journal of Medicine reports that bananas can cut the risk of stroke by 40 percent.
Soothe an ulcer
Bananas are the only raw fruit that can safely be eaten by patients with queasy stomachs. They’re soft and the antacid neutralizes excess acid and puts down a protective stomach lining of the stomach. It’ll even reduce heartburn.
Cut stress-and help
keep the weight off
Overweight people are often stress eaters. For comfort, they munch on salty starches or sweets. Researchers in Australia found that when dieters grabbed a small banana every two or three hours instead of a candy bar, they kept the stress down and weight off. The scientific rationale? Stress increases our metabolic rate, which decreases potassium levels. Bananas contain substantial amounts of potassium, lowering blood pressure and sending more oxygen to the brain.
Boost energy for sports
The natural sugars in two little bananas can supply enough energy for a 90-minute spinning class without leaving you sprawled on the floor at the end of the workout.
Nourish your houseplants
Give your ferns a minced banana skin every few months. Whatever it is in that funny looking yellow fruit that makes it good for you, makes it just as good or better for your alkaline -loving plants.
Perfect Banana Bread
Makes 1 large loaf
Growing up, banana bread was a feel-good staple in our kitchen. I’d watch the bananas ripen on the window, knowing my mother wouldn’t bake until the fruit was black and at its sweetest flavor peak. Sometimes she added nuts; sometimes, dried fruit. Sometimes we ate it straight out of the pan, still warm from the oven. Other times, we toasted it for breakfast and ate it with cream cheese.
I lost my mother’s recipe when our house burned, but I found the basics of a recipe that’s very close to Mom’s at www.epicurious.com, a site every Googling cook should frequent. Not only does it hold a catalog of “Bon Appetit” and “Gourmet” recipes, but also good recipes have dozens of user reviews. I pieced this together from readers’ comments: “This moist, dense version is not too sweet, not too heavy, not dry at all-it’s the Goldilocks of loaf bread-just right.”
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. baking soda
3 large ripe bananas
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
10 tbs. butter, plus 1 for greasing the pan
1 cup sugar – half, brown
2 cups flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the loaf pan.
2. Mix soda with sour cream.
3. Puree bananas with eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and sour cream.
4. Cream butter. Beat in sugar until fluffy. Add bananas. Beat in flour and nuts. The batter should be the consistency of molasses. If it’s too thick, add more cream or applesauce. Dump into loaf pan.
5. Bake one hour or until top cracks.