Look good, feel good

Well­ness and beauty

Paradise - - In Paradise | Contents -

When it comes to an easy and healthy snack, ba­nanas are at the top of the list. Few plant-based foods ri­val their ready avail­abil­ity and high nu­tri­tional value.

In­ter­est­ingly, while ba­nana plants are one of the world’s old­est plants and now grown in more than 100 coun­tries, they are be­lieved to have been first do­mes­ti­cated and cul­ti­vated in Pa­pua New Guinea, with some es­ti­mates as far back as 8000 BC. These days they are a ma­jor diet sta­ple, used mostly in desserts, por­ridges, pan­cakes and cakes.

It’s just as well, as ba­nanas can do no wrong in the health depart­ment. They are packed with potas­sium, the min­eral es­sen­tial for a healthy heart and kid­neys. Stud­ies have shown women who eat ba­nanas up to three times a week are a third less likely to de­velop kid­ney dis­ease. Sep­a­rate re­search has found both men and women who eat ba­nanas up to six times a week are half as likely to suf­fer kid­ney prob­lems than those who do not.

Ba­nanas are also cred­ited with help­ing weight loss due to their high lev­els of pectin, a sol­u­ble fi­bre that leads to feel­ings of full­ness and con­trols food crav­ings.

They are also ma­jor sources of vi­ta­mins B and C, plus cal­cium and mag­ne­sium. Their an­tiox­i­dant con­tent makes them a five-star in­flam­ma­tion fighter, perfect for help­ing pre­vent all kinds of ail­ments from arthri­tis to gout, not to men­tion anti-age­ing.

Ba­nanas con­tain pre­dom­i­nantly car­bo­hy­drate and wa­ter, con­tain vir­tu­ally no fat and lit­tle pro­tein. Full of good kilo­joules and car­bo­hy­drates, they are pop­u­lar with sports peo­ple want­ing a quick boost of nat­u­ral, healthy en­ergy.

Ba­nanas are good news, too, for peo­ple suf­fer­ing or at risk of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes, as they rank ‘low’ on the gly­caemic in­dex, the mea­sure of how fast a food raises blood sugar.

PNG cook­ing styles see ba­nanas com­monly served as part of high-kilo­joule desserts such as pud­dings and por­ridges, often with lash­ings of co­conut cream or milk, which de­spite their health-giv­ing qual­i­ties need to be en­joyed in small doses due to the fat con­tent.

For this rea­son we have se­lected a ve­gan recipe for the pop­u­lar PNG-style ba­nana cake from healthy eat­ing ex­pert and founder of gen­tlyve­gan.com, Cather­ine Carr. En­joy.

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