Why I Love Bananas and Eat Them Every Day!
By Mikkel Gisle Johnsen
I probably sound like a broken record when I say «I love bananas», but it’s the truth. Ever since I started eating a high carbohydrate, fruit based vegan diet about six years ago it’s become increasingly clear to me that bananas are the single most important food item on this diet. In fact, I would go as far as to propose the banana as the saviour of mankind! Well…that might be taking it a step too far, but only just. Let me tell you exactly why I think bananas are so great, and why you should make them a dietary staple – regardless of your dietary preferences in general.
Bananas are delicious! Let’s start with the most obvious perk of the humble banana – it’s super tasty! This fruit is naturally appealing to our senses in its raw, natural state. Even babies love it! The more I eat bananas, the more I love their taste, especially – and in fact only – when they are fully ripe though. Keep in mind that there are thousands of banana varieties out there, all with different taste profiles. It’s not just the Cavendish banana that you see in most supermarkets around the world.
Bananas are nutritious! In order for a food item to be a staple, it has to be nutritious! Bananas are packed with essential vitamins and minerals needed for human health, as well as easily digestible carbohydrates to fuel all your activites. Despite what most people think, bananas are also a source of essential fats and protein. In fact, all the dietary nutrients needed for human health are present in bananas! Sure, it’s probably still a good idea to eat some other foods as well to balance out the overall nutritional profile of your diet over the course of the weeks and months, but making bananas a daily staple is certainly a good idea from a health perspective. Check out this article for more on what constitutes «human food».
Bananas are reliable! Unlike some other fruits, bananas are very consistent in their quality. When you eat a banana, you can count on it delivering the calories you need. Stone fruits for example, are notorious for being picked too early and lacking sweetness. The lack in sugar is equivalent with a lack of calories. A lack of calories is equivalent with a lack of performance, satiety and health overall. Bananas pack about 100 calories per fruit and you can bank on them as your main calorie source.
Bananas are calorie dense! Following up on that last point is the fact that bananas pack more calories per bite than many other foods, making it a little bit easier (especially for newbies) to get the calories in. They are also more sustainable for athletic people (aka healthy people) because they have higher caloric needs than sedentary folks!
Bananas are convenient! Let’s face it – convenience is a huge factor in most people’s dietary choices. Bananas are fast food! Just peel and eat! Also, you can buy them in boxes, making them convenient to shop for too! To learn more about buying, storing, ripening and eating bananas, check out The Little Banana Book.
Bananas are available everywhere! Not only are bananas available to everyone in the whole world pretty much, but they are omnipresent in the stores and supermarkets. With the exception of the truly rural people of this world, I would guess that almost everyone can get their hands on some bananas within the hour. In order to be a staple food, it has to be available! Sure, the question of whether or not it’s sustainable for everyone to eat bananas worldwide is valid and certainly up for discussion (leave us a comment if you feel like it) but I personally believe that imported bananas might still be more sustainable to eat than local animal products. Regardless – we are tropical animals by nature, and we need tropical fruit to thrive. Bananas to the rescue!
Bananas are affordable! Price is another important factor for most people, and although I think our health is a worthwhile investment warranting the consumption of the best foods the earth has to offer, bananas happen to be very affordable on a calorie for calorie basis. Anyone can afford bananas, and if they do – they are getting a lot of health for their money!
Bananas are easy to ripen at home! Some fruits – and bananas are one of them – ripen after picking! This means that even though the bananas are picked before reaching full maturity, they will still ripen up post harvest. As bananas go from green to yellow to a deep yellow with brown frecles, the starch turns to sugar and the fruit softens. Eating ripe fruit is paramount for optimal health and digestion, and bananas are great in this regard. It’s easy to control the ripening process at home by manipulating the temperature and environment around the bananas. More on this in The Little Banana Book!
Make it happen! So there you have it! Bananas are good in a thousand different ways! Sure, I love other fruits too; like mangoes, papayas, cherimoyas, jackfruits, peaches and durian, but none of those beat the banana when it comes to everyday versatility, worldwide availability and most importantly – reliability! Thankfully, the variety of a fruit based diet is endless, but I suggest you make bananas a staple nevertheless. Experiment with making at least one of your daily meals a banana meal and see the results for yourself. Just make sure they are fully ripe – otherwise they will neither taste nor digest very well! Bananas for the win!