BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t Himalayan sea salt

1/2 cup xylitol

1/2 t stevia (Sweetleaf)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

4 very ripe bananas

1/4 cup water

1 t vanilla extract

1 cup non-dairy, dark chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly oil 12 muffin cups. Combine the dry ingredients. Blend the wet ingredients together mashing the bananas. Add the two mixtures together and fold in the chocolate chips and the walnuts. Fill each muffin cup equally, bake 20 minutes until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

THE TWIST

Bananas are well known for their potassium content which is helpful for the heart, brain, kidneys and muscle tissues for starters. The potassium in bananas helps to maintain normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar levels, normal brain function, reduce the effects of anxiety and stress, assists in metabolic process of various nutrients, assists in the proper function of the kidneys and helps in keeping the cells of the body hydrated, and it is imperative for muscular strength and function.

What might come as a surprise is that one medium banana contains 3% of the daily requirements of protein and includes all the essential amino acids making it a complete protein. They are a great source of many of the vitamins from the B complex group, especially B6 which may reduce the risk of dementia and brain shrinkage. They also are a good source of vitamin C, manganese and magnesiumBananas are almost fat free and the tiny amount of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids they contain are essential to proper functioning of the nervous system and brain health as well as help to reduce low level, internal inflammation. Bananas contain tryptophan, which the body uses to make the happiness hormone serotonin.

Xylitol is found in many fruits and vegetables and our bodies make about 10 grams of it everyday. Xylitol is as sweet as sugar, but with 40% less calories, and does not rely on insulin in the body, making it the ideal natural sweetener for diabetics and it can have a positive affect on the waistline! It is slowly absorbed and metabolized, resulting in very negligible changes in insulin making it an extremely low glycemic alternative to sugar. It has no unpleasant aftertaste like sugar and other sugar alternatives. Xylitol has been used in various places around the world for decades with only positive effects. Most bacteria and yeast in the mouth are unable to make use of xylitol which slows there ability to multiply and produce acids that cause cavities. Xylitol is easy to use in baking since it doesn’t break down under heat. Expect to see more recipes using xylitol in the future.  

The walnuts in these muffins contribute protein and they contain significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as well as manganese, copper, phosphorus, iron calcium and other minerals.  Plus, the antioxidant activity in walnuts is extremely potent which provides the body protection against damaging free radicals.