Fruit of the month: Bananas

Published: February, 2021

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the United States, perhaps because they're affordable (about 58 cents per pound, on average) and available year-round.

Among all fruits, bananas are one of best sources of potassium, with about 450 milligrams (mg) per banana. Healthy adults not on certain medications should aim for 4,700 mg of potassium daily, although few Americans meet this goal. A high potassium intake may help reduce high blood pressure and has also been linked to a lower risk of stroke and possibly heart disease.

Bananas make great snacks since they're naturally prepackaged and fairly filling. They're also good sliced on cold or hot cereal or a peanut butter sandwich, and make a great addition to a fruit smoothie. You also can make a creamy, ice cream–like dessert by freezing sliced bananas for at least two hours and then pureeing them in a food processor until smooth. For a flavor boost, add cocoa powder, almond or peanut butter, or cinnamon, alone or in any combination.

The closely related plantain (often sold near bananas in grocery stores) is another fruit worth adding to your menu. They're more starchy and less sweet than bananas and are eaten cooked instead of raw. Select plantains that are yellow with black spots or mostly black; peel, slice, and pan-fry to serve alongside black beans for a Caribbean-inspired meal.

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