I love bananas. For me, they are a perfect food. They are versatile, convenient and travel well. They can be eaten before, during or after a run without triggering an upset stomach. Bananas have a range of flavors and textures and colors depending on their ripeness. They partner perfectly with peanut butter, yogurt and oatmeal. Yohan Blake, a Jamaican sprinter and 100-meter world champion, attributes his strength and resilience to eating 16 bananas per day.
The idea of eliminating bananas as a staple in my diet is unfathomable. Yet, many people are on the fence - not just about bananas - but fruit in general. There is a misconception that the sugar in fruit wreaks the same havoc on our bodies as simple sugar and should be avoided. However, study after study show that higher levels of fresh fruit consumption are associated with a lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-related diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
Whole fruits contain a plethora of antioxidants and fiber which help to strengthen immunity and promote fullness, respectively. When you eat a piece of fruit, the fiber within the fruit’s cellular frame helps to slow the absorption of fructose, the predominate sugar in fruits. It takes time to break down the fibrous cell walls, and as a result, the sugars enter the bloodstream slowly which gives the liver more time to metabolize them. This steady release minimizes surges in blood sugar and saves the pancreas from working harder than it has to.
It is important to note that the greatest benefit of fiber is received when the fruit is eaten fresh and whole as opposed to juicing or dried.