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The One Hack Everyone's Doing With Bananas

This simple trick will change how you eat bananas forever.

It's no surprise that bananas are a staple in countless households around the world. They're inexpensive, they're tasty, and they're good in practically everything, from smoothies to sundaes. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), bananas are the most popular fresh fruit in the U.S., with the average American consuming 13.9 pounds of bananas each year.

It's not just their appealing flavor that make these fruits such a powerhouse food, though. In addition to boasting 3 grams of filling fiber apiece, bananas are a rich source of prebiotic carbohydrates, which can boost levels of healthy gut bacteria. In fact, according to a 2011 study published in the journal Anaerobe, banana consumption was associated with increases in study subjects' beneficial bifidobacteria levels and reduced bloating.

Research suggests they're even a great way to fuel up for a workout. According to a 2012 study published in PLoS One, among a group of 14 trained cyclists who were given either a banana or a 6% carbohydrate sports drink to consume during 75-km. time trials, bananas were as effective as sports drinks at reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and boosting immune function, but performed better than sports drinks when it came to boosting feel-good hormone dopamine and disease-fighting antioxidant response. (RELATED: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now)

However, even if you're not always game to chow down on a banana, there's an easy banana hack that will allow you to incorporate these tasty fruits into your daily routine.

"Using ripe bananas in pancakes, breads, muffins, and cakes, gives them a sweet flavor without needing to add (as much, or any) sugar," recommends Registered Dietitian Annamaria Louloudis, MS, RDN, founder of Louloudi Nutrition.

In doing this banana hack, you can significantly slash the amount of calories and sugar you're using in your favorite recipes. While a cup of cane sugar packs 375 calories and 100 grams of sugar, one cup of mashed bananas has just 200 calories and just 27.5 grams of sugar, meaning that making the swap can make your favorite "cheat" foods a whole lot healthier without leaving you feeling deprived. Need some inspiration when it come to this a-peeling fruit? Check out our 10 Healthiest Banana Recipes!

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah
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