Banana bread can be baked in many different ways, and some people have their own favorite recipes. The common ingredient in every banana bread recipe is, of course, bananas, which offer a variety of health benefits. Any favorite banana bread recipe can be modified slightly by tossing in a few additional healthy ingredients, such as wheat germ, ground flaxseed, whole grains and chopped nuts.
Bananas are packed with potassium. A medium-sized banana usually contains over 450 mg. Because potassium helps to counteract the negative effects of sodium, people who have high blood pressure may find bananas especially helpful. Bananas can also help strengthen bones, guard against atherosclerosis, support eye health, regulate the digestive system, and ward off ulcers by protecting the lining of the stomach from acids. Eating bananas on a regular basis may also help lower the risk of developing kidney disease.
Try adding a couple of tablespoons of wheat germ to your banana bread recipe. Wheat germ, found inside wheat kernels, is rich in nutrients such as zinc, thiamine, phosphorus, coenzyme Q10, pantothenic acid, magnesium and vitamin E. All of these nutrients can help boost the immune system, metabolize energy, maintain bone and teeth health, as well as encourage the healthy function of the heart and muscles, the nervous system and the circulatory system. Wheat germ may also help lower your cholesterol levels and maintain digestive health, as it is high in fiber.
Grind up some flaxseed and add a couple of tablespoons to your banana bread batter. Eating flaxseed without grinding it will deprive you of its valuable nutrients, including high fiber content and essential fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-3s. These can help to ease inflammation and inflammatory disorders like heart disease and arthritis. The fiber in flaxseed can help those with high cholesterol levels. Flaxseed also contains lignans, chemicals that may help ward off cancer. However, if you are on any medications, take your medicine at a different time than eating flaxseed, as flaxseed may decrease the absorption of medicines and other supplements.
Try using a mix of whole grains and white flour to make banana bread. Whole grains, such as oats, barley, millet and wheat flour, can provide the body with fiber to control cholesterol levels. These grains also have complex carbohydrates, which can help maintain your blood sugar at a steady level. Whole grains are a source of selenium, potassium and magnesium. These nutrients can support your immune system, maintain cell health, encourage heart health and control blood pressure.
Chop a handful of walnuts, pecans or other nuts to mix in your banana bread recipe. Nuts taste good, and have healthy fiber and unsaturated fats, which can help lower your cholesterol. They also have omega-3 fatty acids, which promote good heart health. The L-arginine in nuts can support the health of the artery walls and reduce the risk of blood clots. Nuts are also a source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage caused by free radicals.