Bananas are one of my favorite fruits. Their flavor, texture and versatility are pretty much anything you could want in a piece of produce. They also pack in a lot of nutrients, including:
- vitamin C
- potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure
- vitamin B6, a component of the pathway that turns carbohydrates and fat into energy; it also makes iron more available to the body
- tryptophan, a precursor to feel-good brain chemical serotonin
In addition to being somewhat ubiquitous, they’re usually pretty cheap—at Trader Joe’s, you pay 19-cents for one, 79 cents per pound at Whole Foods, or on many NYC street carts, they can be had four for a dollar. The vendor at the fruit cart I frequent usually throws in an extra, even when I haven’t already bought a bunch, so sometimes I even get them for free…
Though I don’t love the fact that bananas often come from places as far off as Ecuador, it doesn’t stop me from buying them. If I could get local ones, I would probably pay the extra money, but banana trees don’t exactly flourish in Manhattan.
Studying nutrition has really deepened my appreciation for food, especially when it comes to enjoying it without having to worry too much about any kinds of restrictions. On some prescribed diets, people often have to avoid favorite foods. Just yesterday, someone laughed at me when I said that bananas and oranges are not generally allowed for a person following a renal diet, as they’re both very high in potassium, one of the main nutrients restricted in this meal plan. I wish I was kidding.
The banana I sliced into my oatmeal this morning tasted especially good, probably because I took a moment to slow down and focus on the taste and to consider the nutrients it was delivering to my body. It may seem odd to find this appreciation in another person’s loss, but for better or worse, the world is filled with little reminders not to take what we have for granted, and this morning, I had a banana. The orange I’ll have later today will probably taste extra-good too.
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