Fibre-rich Gluten-free Banana Bread
A delicious wholesome banana bread to suit wheat and gluten-free dietary needs
One can never have enough banana bread recipes! Am I right or am i right :-) Jokes aside, for anyone who needs to avoid wheat and or gluten from their food intake it is vital to get enough fibre to support your digestion and your all important gut microbiota. Studies have shown that gluten-free diets can often be low in fibre and also nutrients such as vitamin B12, folate, magnesium, and zinc, to name a few. Gluten is a protein found in many grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Celiac's Disease is a life-long autoimmune condition that causes the lining of the digestive tract to flatten in response to eating gluten. According to the Celiac Society of Ireland 1 in 100 people have the condition and require a strict gluten-free diet.
It seems though that not only those with celiac's disease need to avoid gluten. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is now becoming a more recognised condition with an improvement in symptoms such as bloating and digestive discomfort from the removal of gluten from the diet. However, there is also evidence that NCGS may actually be a result of sensitivity in other fermentable carbohydrates such as fructans, found in many different types of grains fruits and vegetables. All of this said it is not advised to omit food groups without professional nutrition support and/or the oversight of your GP, particularly if there is the possibility of true food sensitivities and/or diagnosed conditions. There are many reasons for different digestive discomforts that omitting different foods may only exacerbate. Fruits, vegetables and grains are important sources of many vitamins, minerals, fibre and plant compounds known as polyphenols that support our immune system, digestive health and are cardio-protective. Opting for a variety of different plant foods helps to increase the diversity of our gut microbes, an increasingly interesting area of research that is showing how a greater microbial diversity in our lower gut is closely linked to better health outcomes.
It is not always what we eat but also how we eat, and our relationship with food that can contribute to certain digestive complaints such as ongoing bloating, indigestion or changes in our stools. If you are letting yourself get overly hungry you may eat overly quickly not giving your digestive system time to digest food adequately. Our digestive system loves rhythm and routine in our eating, and so having erratic eating times on an ongoing basis can be reflected in unruly bowel habits. Aim to eat at consistent times, chewing food properly and taking our time to enjoy our food can all help towards a more comfortable digestion.
The gluten-free products in the shops are often a mix of fortified starches, (as aforementioned) low in fibre with a long list of preservatives to prolong shelf life. For those people needing to completely avoid gluten, these products although handy to have in the cupboard would benefit from nutrient rich toppings to provide a wider range of nutrients and fibre. Although there are some great gluten-free bread recipes available online if anyone is new to baking there can often be a very long list of ingredients. In this recipe I've kept the ingredients fairly simple with the addition of psyllium husks to buckwheat which lightens the bread whilst adding plenty of fibre.
Buckwheat is known as a pseudo grain and is naturally gluten free. It is an excellent source of fibre, including resistant starch that feed certain gut microbes to produce short chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Butyrate is known to support the health of the intestinal lining, have anti-inflammatory properties and is involved in the health of the gut-brain axis. Additionally, buckwheat is rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorous- all important for many aspects of our health. I buy the buckwheat groats in the supermarket or health food shop and grind into a flour in a nutri-bullet/food processor.
This banana bread freezes really well. I simply leave it to cool, slice and place in the freezer ready to take out a few slices and defrost or pop in the toaster. Perfect for a snack or as a breakfast side topped with nut butter.
90g coconut sugar (or 75g soft brown sugar)
85g butter melted (or coconut oil melted)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
150g buckwheat flour
15g psyllium husks
Pre-heat oven to 170C
In a bowl mash the bananas. Add the egg and sugar and mix well. Add the melted butter and combine again before folding in the buckwheat flour, psyllium husks, cinnamon and baking powder. The mixture will be a bit sloppy. Now leave it in the bowl for about 10-15minutes before spooning into a prepared loaf tin. This will allow the fibre to absorb the moisture and give a good texture to the banana bread.
Place in the bottom of the oven and bake for 40 minutes- test with a skewer to make sure its baked through. Leave to cool before slicing.