Food and Nutrition

The Heart-Healthy Secret Ingredient the Queen of England Adds to Her Banana Bread

Kells McPhillips

Photo: Getty Images/WPA Pool and Stocksy/Orsolya Bán; Graphics: Well+Good Creative

I’m a banana bread purist. (No nuts! No chocolate chips! No cranberries!) Upon learning that the Queen—as in Queen Elizabeth II—always takes raisins with her banana bread, however, I’ve had to rethink my morals. The raisin’s heart benefits make it a compelling addition to any loaf.

In his latest YouTube video, Darren McGrady, former chef to her majesty, dished on the Buckingham Palace banana bread recipe. Spoiler alert, it looks delicious even with the raisins. “At the palace, we’d have banana bread in the refrigerator all the time. So if suddenly Princess Anne turned up and wanted afternoon tea just as we were locking up the kitchen and going for a break, it was ok because we had banana bread,” McGrady told Insider. Now there’s a policy I’d love to adopt for my own kitchen.

From a nutritional standpoint, adding raisins (whether golden like the Queen’s or red) to banana bread makes a lot of sense. “Americans currently only consume about half of the recommended amount of dietary fiber each day, and raisins are a good source of dietary fiber which has been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels and support the health of the heart,” says registered dietitian Malina Malkani, RD. Indeed, a small box of raisins contains about two grams of fiber—not too shabby for a single slice.

Aside from heart-healthy benefits, the addition of raisins will also tack on three grams of protein per slice, plenty of polyphenols that fight free radicals in the body to keep inflammation at bay, and calcium to promote bone health. That’s a lot of healthy features in a tiny, tiny dried grape.

If you’re now jonesing for some Buckingham Palace-style banana bread, you can check out the Business Insider piece for the full recipe. Or try Well+Good’s recipe below (and don’t forget to add those raisins)!

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