Healthy banana pudding with a side of brain benefits

HHaving a bowl of overripe bananas is the culinary version of a choose-your-own adventure novel. You can turn these babies into banana chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, or…Simplified fermentation author Emilie Parrish’s favorite—healthy banana pudding.

If you’re looking for a dessert that tastes delicious and provides brain-nourishing vitamins, this recipe was made just for you. Parrish’s take on the classic banana dessert (which would have been enjoyed since the 1800s) only requires three ingredients that you Most likely already on hand, TBH.

All you need to whip up this simple dessert? Bananas, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Of course, a dollop of whipped cream never hurts either, so make sure you have that on hand as well. That’s literally it. Besides being really easy, this recipe has *a lot* to offer nutritionally.

Enjoyed together, bananas and peanut butter contain so many vitamins neuroscientist Sonja K. Billes, PhD, recommends for optimal brain health. Namely, electrolytes, B vitamins, fiber and protein.

In case you don’t know, potassium is a type of electrolyte which helps your nerves function properly, regulates water levels in your body and offsets the effects of sodium. A single serving of this pudding contains approximately 122 milligrams of potassium. (The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, recommends consuming approximately 4,700 milligrams per day– and this pudding is a good first step towards that goal.)

Bananas are also full of B vitamins.. “B vitamins are essential for brain health,” says dietician Marie Kate Keyes, RDN, Director of Nutrition and Wellness for MindFirst Health and Fitness. “Many of these vitamins like to pass on molecules called one-carbon units, which are important in many cellular activities, especially in the brain. There have been several studies linking low vitamin B status with cognitive decline associated with aging.”

Don’t worry, peanut butter has its own brain health accolades. It contains both protein (about seven grams per serving) and fiber (about two grams). Protein is essential amino acids that help the brain function at its peakwhile fiber has its own to-do list.

“Humans cannot digest fiber, and because of this, it passes through our digestive tract untouched. This means that by the time it reaches our lower intestines where many healthy bacteria live, we have delivered these bacteria a delicious feast.” says Keyes. A growing body of evidence also shows that feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome directly improves human cognition– this is often referred to as the gut-brain connection.

Now that you are fully informed about the benefits of this healthy banana pudding recipe, enjoy. It’ll be ready in about three seconds flat.

Fermenting for Foodies’ Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Recipe

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas, completely mashed
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whipped cream or coconut cream

1. Beat mashed bananas with peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth. It’s easiest to do with a food processor or immersion blender.

2. In another bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.

3. Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter and banana mixture.

4. Pour into individual serving dishes and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

The perfect vegan whipped cream, coming soon:

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Richard V. Johnson