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The humble banana is so versatile, tasty, and inexpensive, it should be a staple of everyone's diet. And not just one banana. How many bananas have you consumed in a day? One, two, three maybe tops? We've eaten 6 bananas at a time, and that was just for breakfast!

Try bananas instead of oatmeal in the morning. Or, if you prefer a liquid meal, peel and freeze a bunch of bananas, then blend into a delicious smoothie. Eat one (or several) as a snack in place of an energy bar - bananas are much easier to digest than energy bars, which throw together a smorgasbord of ingredients of unpronounceable names appearing nowhere in nature, which spells disaster for your digestion and leaving you feeling down in the dumps. For dessert you might wish to enjoy frozen bananas in place of frozen yogurt or ice cream.

At just 105 calories, one medium banana provides 3 grams of fiber in addition to lots of major nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and others including water (yes, though it's hard to believe bananas are 75 percent water). And since bananas derive the bulk of their calories from carbohydrate (bananas are 93% carbs), you'll enjoy the instant energy they provide.

A note on selection/storage. Make sure to allow bananas to ripen until brown spots form on their skin. This is a sign that the starch has been converted to simpler sugars which are much easier to digest. And brownish bananas are a lot sweeter, too. And did we mention inexpensive? At under 20 cents per fruit, bananas are about the easiest on your wallet of all fresh foods.

For a little inspiration, watch our primate cousin dig into what look like bananas, and after a giggle or two, get yourself a couple and enjoy.

Take the banana challenge and eat as many as you can one of these days. Our record so far is 10, which at a total of 1000 calories may seem like a lot, until we tell you that we didn't eat much else the rest of the afternoon, since with a total of 30 grams of fiber we were nice and satisfied, which would seem to support the consumption of bananas as an aid to weight loss.

And yes, bananas are fat free.


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