Who doesn’t love banana bread? I know we do, but sadly lots of recipes for Paleo cooking use nuts or nut flours. This can be a real problem when you are sending food to school for lunch boxes as many schools have a no nuts policy. This Paleo banana Loaf is completely nut-free but doesn’t use coconut or arrowroot flours. Instead it relies on ground sunflower seeds, which give it a moist dense texture but still provide a nutty flavour.
I like to use ground sunflower seeds in recipes because they are easy to substitute. They can be swapped for almond flour at a 1:1 ration in most recipes.
Beware of using in recipes with bicarb soda (they will turn green but there is no change to taste!!) Sunflower seeds are also a lot cheaper than almonds or almond flour – when you have four kids, two of whom are hungry teenage boys this is a big factor! Also, there are some great health benefits :
- They control cell damage, thus playing a role in preventing cancer. This is because sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium, which is a proven enemy of cancer.
- They contain bone-healthy minerals. Besides calcium, your bones need magnesium and copper to stay strong. Sunflower seeds have both these minerals. As a bonus, they also contain Vitamin E, which helps ease arthritic pain.
- They keep you calm. Yes! The magnesium in sunflower seeds is reputed for soothing the nerves, thus easing away stress, migraines and helping you relax.
This recipe also has pumpkin seeds, another favourite of mine because they are packed full of vitamins, minerals and essential amino-acids such as tryptophan, and glutamate.
Pumpkin kernels are an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates. These vitamins work as co-factors for various enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism in the human body. In addition, niacin helps in the reduction of LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. Along with glutamate, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn reduces anxiety and nervous irritability.
Furthermore, its seeds contain good amounts of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Just as in pine nuts, pumpkin seeds too are very rich in manganese (provide 4543 mg per 100 g, about 198% of daily-recommended intake). Manganese is an all-important co-factor for antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. It is therefore, consumption of pumpkin kernels help develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
Lastly, this recipe gets its sweetness from two sources – bananas and raw honey. Bananas are high in anti-oxidants, packed with potassium and a great source of fibre. While sweeteners should be definitely not be part of our daily diet, sometimes we want to sweeten our food and I like to use raw honey because it is a concentrated source of natural goodness. It has rich taste and hiigh nutritional benefits.
Raw honey promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestine, soothes and heals skin wounds, aids sleep and counters pollen allergies. It has also been found to reduce homocysteine levels to maintain a healthy heart.
You could easily leave the honey out of this recipe or swap it with other sweeteners such as maple syrup, rice malt syrup or xylitol to suit your preference. Whatever you choose, this recipe is bound to be a winner with your family and friends.