Bananas are a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and protein, so they are excellent for our health as well as tasting good. Eating a banana straight from the peel is delicious, but you would be surprised by the many ways in which you can use the humble banana. Read on for some great ideas using bananas.
1: Banana smoothies
Smoothies containing bananas are not only good for our health, but also provide a very thick consistency and great flavour. The great thing about banana smoothies is they can be mixed easily with other fruits as they do not have too much of an overpowering flavour or taste. A great classic banana smoothie recipe is to use just milk and banana, and then add honey and peanut butter to taste. Honey and peanut butter provide a nutty sweet taste to the basic banana smoothie mix.
2: Banana bread
Banana bread is great for when bananas are very ripe or slightly over ripe. Banana bread is easy to make and when baked has a sweet cake-like texture. There are many banana bread recipes around, some of which contain extra additions such as nuts and raisins. Choose very ripe bananas from your local fresh food display at the supermarket or greengrocer.
3: Banana muffins
Much the same texture as banana bread, except that it is sweeter. Banana muffins are very delicious when baked.
4: Banana toast
Banana toast is simply slices of banana placed on top of warm toast. It sounds rather simple, but it’s a surprisingly good tasting and healthy snack. For taste variety add other ingredients such as peanut butter, or drizzled honey.
5: BBQ banana
BBQ bananas are easy to make and taste delicious. Lay a banana on its side and gently slice through the skin long ways. You can then tuck in anything you like within it, such as chocolate, coconut or chopped nuts. The variations are only limited by your own imagination.
6: Banana face mask
Bananas are not only good internally, but can be used externally. Bananas make a great DIY natural face mask. Just mash one ripe banana and add to it 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, and ¼ cup of rolled oats. Spread this mix on the face for 15-20 minutes, then rinse off. Bananas are rich in vitamins and acids from the banana exfoliate dead skin. Honey has natural antibacterial properties, and is particularly good on acne prone skin. Lemon has a natural astringent property; it tightens pores, and brightens the completion. Oatmeal has a gentle and natural exfoliating effect on the skin and smoothes itchy skin conditions such as eczema. The ingredients combined create a natural but effective face mask.
7: Banana hair conditioner
Banana hair conditioner is another great DIY home beauty treatment using bananas. There are a variety of different ingredients that can be added to bananas to make a hair conditioning treatment. A simple one to try is using coconut oil and honey. Mash one ripe banana and add in four tablespoons of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of runny honey. Warm the mixture, either in the microwave or sit the mixture in its bowl in another bowl of hot water until warm. Make sure the mixture is not too hot or may scald your scalp. Pour the mix onto your hair and massage gently in. Let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse off.
Note: when buying bananas, make sure they are not too green or have blackened. They should be easy to check from the food display in your supermarket or greengrocers.
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Bananas are essentially a multipurpose fruit with various applications and health benefits, from an excellent source of vitamin B6, to use in barbeques, from reducing the risk of cancer to use as a face mask, from a huge source of fiber to a banana bread or muffin, no creative food display can be complete without the presence of a banana. For a list of food preparations with bananas, click here.
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