Anti-Inflammatory Banana Bread for Spondyloarthritis
I have a habit of buying bananas at the grocery store thinking I'll eat them up by midweek. As the days whisk by, they turn from slightly green to bright yellow to dark brown. By Saturday, I insist I will stop buying bananas. Though never expensive, I hate that I waste money on food that I end up throwing away, especially knowing that eating the bananas can help me. Regrettably, every week as I stroll by the fruit section at the store, I grab another small bunch that evolves into my Saturday Bananas.
My diet affects my symptoms
My eating habits lately have been lacking in anti-inflammatory substances. Having axial spondyloarthritis, I find it's very important to be consistent with a diet that calms the overly-active process of my inflammatory spine pain, enthesitis, and irritable bowel. My pain levels are at an all-time high. AxSpA limits me. Standing too long cripples me. Discomfort and fatigue squash my appetite, and exhaustion sets in. I know I am not eating as well as I should be. I am set off into an agonizing flare. There are some days I cannot bear to grab any food, not even one banana.
So I try to eat as best I can
A diet rich in nutrients can help in lessening pain and fatigue, but it’s a vicious cycle, one I am determined not to give in to. The B6, magnesium, and vitamin C in bananas are known to fight inflammation in the body. They supply potassium and fiber and fortify the nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. It is suggested that as a banana ripens it is up to “8 times more effective in enhancing the power of white blood cells than green-skin bananas, according to a 2009 study published in Food Science and Technology Research. White blood cells fight infections from bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other pathogens.”1
I love to cook and bake. In the kitchen, I feel relaxed and spontaneous. Trial and error with different ingredients take a dull dish in a whole other direction. Creating a spin on a boring dish can revive it. Creativity encourages my whole family to eat and live better. And, I love it when they give their two-sense when taste-testing.
When it comes to recipes I pick and choose ingredients from several favorites that I have saved; I like to adapt recipes to my liking. I adore seeing the love on my family's faces when they bite into a great masterpiece and want more. For years I have been saving recipes to Pinterest boards and I now have an array of go-to recipes that are my favorites. Banana bread made with my ripe Saturday Bananas and ginger and turmeric is one of them.
For the love of anti-inflammatory spice
There are a slew of healthy banana bread recipes with a variety of different opinions of what should be put into it, some paleo or plant-based. I honestly don't have the energy, let alone time and money, to delve into that diet currently. I do the best I can to make as healthy a recipe possible. As basic as it is, banana bread always has the main ingredients, but the spices used can take it to a whole new level. Below is the recipe I’ve used and adapted over the years.
Rebecca's anti-inflammatory banana bread
Turmeric and ginger (known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities) are where I begin when baking with bananas. I also love to throw a dash of cinnamon or cardamom in there to spice it up a little bit more. Likewise, very important to me, I substitute honey or maple syrup for white sugar. Also included is my homemade vanilla extract.
- 3-4 medium-to-large ripe bananas
- ½ cup coconut oil or safflower oil
- ¾ cup of honey (local) or coconut sugar
- 2 extra-large eggs at room temp (substitute: an additional ½ large banana or ¼ cup applesauce)
- 2 tsp. homemade vanilla extract or pure vanilla extract
- 3 tsp. almond milk (I like to use the vanilla with a hint of honey)
- 2 cups of oat, almond or tapioca flour
- ½ tsp. pink sea salt
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1½ tsp. cinnamon and/or ½ tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
*You can add coconut flakes, chocolate chips, oats, or nuts to your liking
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray the bottom and sides of a glass baking dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- With a mixer, combine all the wet ingredients and stir for 4-5 minutes.
- Next, drop in the dry ingredients one by one mixing slowly and consistently for another 4-5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish and place it in the oven on the middle rack.
- Cook for 50-60 minutes.
- When time is up, be sure to test the bread with a toothpick in the middle to be sure it's cooked thoroughly.
- Place on a cooling rack and let sit for 15 minutes. Cut into slices and ENJOY!
*It's important to note that for a while I lived at a higher altitude (atop a mountain at 6,000 feet) and needed to adjust my temperature and time in the oven when baking.
Does reading AxSpA patient stories help you in your journey?