Naturally sweet bananas can be turned into smoothies that are great for breakfast or for sharing with the kids. As far as health benefits go, bananas are well known for their high amount of potassium. They provide natural energy and are therefore great before a long workout. Or if you feel sluggish in the afternoon, this pick-me-up might be just the thing you need.
Potassium is probably the mineral that is most commonly associated with bananas. A single banana is loaded with potassium, which helps to maintain steady energy levels and normal heart function. Potassium regulates sodium in the body and reduces high blood pressure. It also prevents clogged arteries, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, bananas contain a high amount of the vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). This one vitamin supports the body in numerous ways. It protects against anemia by increasing the production of red blood cells, which move oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin B6 helps to lower the risk of type II diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the vitamin aids in proper nerve function by producing serotonin and dopamine.
The amino acid tryptophan that is found in bananas assists in the production of the serotonin. This important brain chemical affects your moods and emotions. Higher serotonin levels can actually reduce symptoms of depression.
Another benefit of this simple smoothie is that it is surprisingly filling. Bananas keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time because of their fiber content, which can help to ward off mid-morning cravings. For the best flavor in this smoothie, use fully ripened bananas.
The smoothie also adds an orange for a touch of brightness and vitamin C. Almond milk is recommended as the liquid base to keep dairy to a minimum. Whip up this easy, tasty smoothie to give yourself a boost instead of reaching for the less healthy alternatives.
1/2 orange, peeled
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp honey
Dash of cinnamon
3/4 cup ice cubes
1. In a large cup (if using an immersion blender) or a blender, combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk if necessary to reach desired consistency. Serve immediately.