A reader challenged me the other day to come up with one everyday food that will improve her calcium absorption and bone health. My answer surprised her since the food I suggested is so common that it is often overlooked. I decided to share the wealth and write an article about this bone-smart food so that you don't miss out.
And believe it or not, that food is… the banana!
You see, bananas help your body to absorb calcium and other vital nutrients that promote healthy bones. Here’s how:
This amazing tropical fruit is extremely rich in a compound called fructooligosaccharides, which nourishes the bacteria (some bacteria in your body is very beneficial) in your colon, allowing for an increase in the production of digestive enzymes and vitamins that help you absorb important bone-strengthening nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium.
What’s more, green bananas, also known as plantains, contain one other key component, in addition to fructooligosaccharides. They contain short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) which makes them TWICE as effective at strengthening your bones. This happens because your body lacks the enzymes to break down SCFAs, so they pass through your small intestine and are consumed by the bacteria that line the walls of your large intestine. The more SCFAs you feed to these cells the healthier they are, resulting in a more efficient absorption of bone-friendly nutrients.
The bottom line: bananas, especially the green ones, are excellent for your bones.
And it doesn’t hurt that they are delicious, too.
Two Delicious Green Banana Recipes
Try these two recipes that I and my family love. I found it to be an easy and delicious way to enjoy the benefits of green bananas.
Caribbean Adventure Salad
Easy to prepare and deliciously bone-healthy.
4 green bananas (plantains)
1 large tomato, cut in chunks
1 cucumber, sliced
6 celery sticks, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1 avocado, sliced
1 head of lettuce, thoroughly washed and dried
1.Peel the green bananas and place in pot with enough cold water and add a pinch of salt.
2. Bring water to boil, then reduce heat and simmer with cover on for 10 to 15 minutes or till tender.
3. Rinse and allow to cool, then slice the bananas.
4. Line a large bowl with lettuce leaves, and cut up the rest of the lettuce.
5. Mix all ingredients and serve with your favorite dressing. Garnish with slivered almonds or chopped walnuts, if desired.
Santo Domingo soup
Make a double batch so you can enjoy this soup anytime.
8 cups vegetable broth
2 green bananas (plantains), grated
1 garlic, pressed or very finely chopped
Sea salt and paprika to taste
Combine all ingredients in pot and boil until thick.