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Natural Awakenings Atlanta


by Brenda Cobb

Bananas are believed to have originated in East Asia in ancient times. A Spanish missionary transported banana roots to the West Indies and they grew so well that many think bananas originated here. The banana plant is not so much a tree as a giant perennial herb which has been known to produce fruit for as much as 100 years.

In the 1800s, Jamaican plantation owner Jean Francois Poujot noticed that the bananas that were growing on his plantation were yellow and tasted extremely sweet and yummy. These bananas were able to be eaten raw without cooking and that is when they really caught on to become a convenient snack food.

When choosing a banana, pick one that is very ripe, with no green on the skin, because it is mostly a starch and difficult to digest. A really ripe banana will have lots of brown spots all over and the starch has been converted to sugar. To keep them from turning brown in a recipe, put them in some fresh lemon juice.

Banana chips have become a very popular snack that is more nutritious than potato chips. Most store-bought banana chips have been fried and really have little or no flavor, so dehydrate them instead. Put some thinly sliced bananas in a dehydrator set at 105 degrees F overnight. They will be more on the chewy, rather than the crunchy side, but get crispier the longer they stay in. These chips are healthier and retain more of their sweet banana flavor without all that oil that frying adds.

Bananas are supercharged with an immense amount of nutritional energy, vitamins and minerals, and are especially high in potassium and fiber. The peel and the pulp of the banana have both antifungal and antibiotic properties. Bananas will feed the natural probiotics in the intestines, and this can be a real boon to good health. The pectin in bananas are said to help heal ulcers and even lower cholesterol. Bananas can even be a sleep aid because they are full of tryptophan. Eating an unripe banana it may cause constipation, but eating them fully ripened can have more of a laxative effect.

This easy recipe using bananas is a delicious dessert, and healthy, too.

Banana Coconut Pudding 8 very ripe bananas 4 pitted medjool dates 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 cups shredded coconut 1 cup strawberries 1 to 3 Tbsp date water

Soak the pitted dates in 1cup alkaline water for 4 hours and drain off the date water and save.

Blend 1 banana, pitted dates, vanilla and a little date water until creamy and smooth.

Slice the rest of the bananas.

Sprinkle coconut on the bottom of casserole dish. Top with sliced bananas.

Pour some of the banana cream over the top.

Sprinkle on more coconut and finish layering with the rest of the bananas and the cream.

Top with a layer of coconut and sliced strawberries.

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