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Banana Health Benefits

banana monkey

When you think about a banana the picture of a monkey eating one comes to mind. They are also associated with tropical paradise islands and palm trees. I have fond memories visiting my Aunt in Kwazulu Natal when I was a child. She had a house which was surrounded by banana trees and monkeys. They would stare at you from behind the burglar bars, with of course a banana in each hand!

Bananas require a warm climate to grow and needs a lot of water. For babies and toddlers it is easier to bite into a banana than an apple or a pear, making this a popular fruit among children of all ages.

Are bananas good for you? Researchers believes so. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysed the components of the banana and found that they are mostly made from water, 75% to be exact. They also discovered that bananas are more fattening than say an orange – there are roughly 89 calories for every 100g.

It is a good source of protein,fiber, potassium and magnesium. However bananas contain a lot of sugar. The slower breakdown of “banana sugars” gets the sugar to your muscles and liver where it is absorbed quicker, so it is not a bad sugar at all.

It is a fact that magnesium transports potassium across cell membranes; all of the necessary components for a healthy heart rate ‘rolled’ into one. Bananas are good for constipation as the fiber in bananas aids the process of moving food through the gastrointestinal tract, preventing food from bulking up.

Bananas can prevent strokes and heart attacks by lowering your blood pressure. A banana can serve as a mood stabiliser, prevent water retention, protect against type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of kidney cancer, improve concentration and help your body maintain a healthy metabolism.

You will often hear that bananas are fattening and should be avoided if you are going on a diet, but this delicious fruit can give you power in the exercise room. Exercise is necessary when you intend to lose weight, we all agree? It improves energy levels and can protect against muscle cramps at night and during workouts. Even though bananas are high in sugar content, it can be used in a diet to lose weight, by absorbing nutrients and helping constipation.

But it is not only the golden fruit inside the golden peel that does miracles for the body. The banana peel has healing properties that can be used around the house. It is good for insect bites or hives, itching, inflammation and warts. To treat these, all you need to do is wrap a banana peel on the infected area and tape it to the skin until it performs its miracle.

Bananas are good for pregnant women. It can relieve heartburn and morning sickness. A few other things you might not have known about bananas: it helps with nicotine withdrawal and can cure a hangover by calming the stomach and helping dehydration.


Banana Squares Recipe


225g/8oz Odlums Cream (Plain) Flour

125g/4oz Sugar

2 large Bananas (mashed)

4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

Good Pinch Cinnamon

Cream Cheese Topping

75g/3oz Cream Cheese

75g/3oz Butter (at room temperature)

1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence

225g/8oz Icing Sugar

To Dust, use Icing Sugar.


Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a Swiss Roll tin 28cms X 18cms/ 11″ x 7″ with good quality greaseproof paper or baking parchment.

Place sugar, bananas, oil and eggs into a large mixing bowl and blend together.

Add the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and gently stir until mixture is smooth and ingredients are all blended.

Pour into the prepared tin and spread evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes approx. or until top is golden and a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely. This will take about an hour!

Spread topping on top and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar. Cover and store in a fridge.

For topping

Beat the cheese, butter and vanilla essence together. Then gradually beat in the icing sugar until topping is smooth and spreadable.

Serving suggestions

Banana squares are delicious served plain with no topping. They can also be topped with chocolate spread or just dusted with icing sugar.


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