Depending on where you get your banana bread, it can be a health bomb or a health boost. Many packaged and bakery breads tend to be high in calories, sugar and fats. However, options for healthier breads are increasing as companies and bakers become more aware of the desire for a lighter, more nutritious banana loaf. Making your own at home is the ideal way to control ingredients for a healthy, delicious bread you can enjoy daily.
Purchase or prepare whole-grain banana bread versus breads made with refined white flours. Refined flours have little nutritive value, having been stripped of their bran and germ layers, which leads to losses of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. In contrast, since whole-grain flours retain all layers of the grain, they are a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B-6 and magnesium for energy production. Whole-grain banana bread is also a source of fiber, which aids in good digestion and increases satiety.
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Bananas are the all-star of banana bread, lending a naturally sweet taste and aroma to the treat. The yellow fruits are a source of carbohydrates, an essential nutrient used as fuel for mental and physical processes. Registered dietitian and nutritionist Megan Ware notes on "Medical News Today" that bananas may aid in decreasing the risk of cancers, lowering blood pressure and improving digestive health. This is due to its vitamins, including vitamins A and C; minerals, including potassium; and dietary fiber.
Although banana bread tends to be high in carbs, it can be a source of protein with the right ingredients. Protein is an essential nutrient needed for the growth, repair and recovery of muscle. It also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, satisfying a hungry appetite to prevent you from eating the full loaf of bread. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one 60-gram slice of banana bread can have around 3 grams of protein.
Banana bread offers healthy monounsaturated fats with ingredients such as nuts and olive oil. The Healthy Chef's Teresa Cutter states that healthy fats help to stabilize blood sugar levels as well as lower cholesterol levels. Cutter prepares a banana bread using 2 cups of almond meal, 1/4 cup of ground flaxseeds and a 1/4 cup of olive oil for a nutritionally rich, decadent loaf. Top a slice with a poached egg for breakfast or a tablespoon of peanut butter for an afternoon snack.