Fruit of the month: Bananas

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.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11

 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” – James 1:2-3

 “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:6

 “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”- Proverbs 16:3

 “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:24 – Luke 12:24

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