What the Navratras always do for me is to reintroduce bananas back to my diet in a big way. It is a free food according to vrat rules, and so I increasingly resort to it to keep my mid meal hunger pangs away on the days I keep the vrat. And during these days I suddenly remember again all the reasons (besides the fact that the uber delicious, unmatched banana split is made from it) why I dig this humble fruit just so much.
For me every year the love perseveres even after the vrat gets over… and I continue eating it regularly for a while before, well life takes over and junk begins creeping in. But then soon it’s time for the next round of navratra vrats and I am reminded again…
I love it unconditionally but if you need more tangible reasons to begin eating more of this fruit, here are they:
1. Banana delivers the phytochemcial fructo-Oligosaccharides, which boosts the good bacteria in our colon and thus prevent the bad bacteria from overtaking them and producing toxic acids that can create a health havoc.
2. It is loaded with a particular kind of fibre called Resistant Starch (RS), which not just fills you up, but also keeps those damaging cravings away and boosts your metabolism. The RS also helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and improves the calcium and magnesium absorption in the body. One tip is the more raw the banana is more the RS in it. And that’s why I make it a point to cook and eat green banana subzi every once in a while. You must too.
3. It’s actually a perfect energy giving food: contains three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – and an extra-large dose of fibre; this combination delivers both – an instant boost, along with sustained and substantial energy. Win-Win actually!
4. It’s loaded with potassium, a mineral that helps keep the blood pressure down and the bones strong and health. Yes, that’s why a banana shake is a winsome combination.
Eat them like this:
But if just biting into it is not really your idea of a lets say a gastronomic delight… (maybe you find them a bit bland!), then just make ‘the banana’ exciting. It’s not that tough. I am sharing some interesting ways I try to incorporate them in my diet. You could try these, and of course use your imagination too…
1. A peanut butter and banana sandwich drizzled with honey is a commonplace idea (but heavenly yummy, everyone will have to agree) and more a meal than a snack if we look at how calorific it can get, but have you ever tried a banana roti roll? Simply take a roti, apply peanut butter, place a banana in the centre, roll it, cut into small discs and snack on it. Delicious!
2. Also try this banana ready in a jiffy dessert: Lightly drizzle oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange banana slices in pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove pan from heat and pour honey mixture (whisk together honey with some water) over banana. Allow to cool and sprinkle with cinnamon.
3. Need a cooling snack? Try this: peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze. Then bite in!
4. This is one of my favorite smoothie recipes (it’s mentioned in my book Don’t Diet! 50 Habits Of Thin People too). Cut pineapple, papaya, banana, cucumber into small pieces. Mix them together. Add 1 cup chilled coconut water, mix, whirl and sip. This simple to make smoothie is loaded with minerals (potassium) and enzymes that help cut the bloat from the body, and detoxify too.
Go on have more of this wonderful fruit, starting this Navratras.
Kavita Devgan is a Nutritionist, Weight Management Consultant and Health Writer based in Delhi. She is also the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico). She contributes to the column Kavita’s Korner every Wednesday for this blog.
Follow her on Twitter here: @kavitadevgan