From infants to elders, banana is a favorite of everyone . This staple fruit of India is not only delicious, but is available throughout the year. It is generally preferred by the masses due to its low cost and delicious taste.
Banana is a perennial herbaceous belonging to the Musacea family. The plant grows from an underground rhizome and flourishes best in moisture rich soil. It is grown widely in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Banana is grown in 107 countries and is ranked fourth amongst the world’s food crop. It is sweet in taste with firm and creamy flesh and protective yellow colored outer skin.
Banana is a wholesome food, packed with a nutritional punch. A single, medium sized banana contains 110 calories, 1 gram of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates. It is a good source of B complex vitamins, Vitamin A and C, dietary fiber, biotin, copper, potassium and manganese. Banana is free of sodium, cholesterol and fat.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
||Percentage of RDA
Benefits of banana:
Adding bananas in your diet can provide you with an array of benefits. It provides nutrients that regulate the heart rhythm and keep the bowels healthy. Read on further to know about some of the best benefits of banana.
1. Stress and depression:
The high levels of tryptophan in banana help to overcome stress and depression. The tryptophan is converted into serotonin, the happy-mood neurotransmitter, which gives stress-relieving relaxation. Hence, you can improve your mood and PMS symptoms by eating a medium sized banana. Banana can make you sharper and more alert. Eat a banana before exams to remember everything you learned.
The abundance of vitamins, minerals and simple sugars in bananas make it a great source of natural energy. The fructose and sucrose, when digested in the body replenishes the energy and revitalizes the body. Eating two bananas before a strenuous workout can provide you with a strong punch of energy to work out for half an hour. Banana also protects from muscle cramps during workout. It also helps to restore the lost electrolytes after diarrhea.
3. Strong bones:
Banana counteracts calcium loss during urination, building strong bones. The high levels of calcium reduce the risk of osteoporosis and brittle bones. The high concentrations of potassium also preserve the bone mineral loss density. Eat two bananas every day to get stronger bones.
4. Heart health:
Vitamin C, B6, fiber and potassium in banana make it very beneficial for heart health. The high potassium content in banana normalizes the blood pressure, protecting you from atherosclerosis. People who consume 406 milligrams of potassium daily have a 49% lower risk of death due to heart diseases. In fact, a high potassium diet also reduces the risk of dying from all causes by 20%. It maintains the regular rhythm of the heartbeat. The sterol content in banana inhibits the absorption of dietary cholesterol in the blood. The water-soluble fiber in bananas also decreases the risk of heart diseases.
Pectin, a fiber present in banana aids digestion and flushes out toxins and heavy metals from the body. It stimulates the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut. Banana produces digestive enzymes in the body, assisting in the absorption of nutrients. Instead of using laxatives and other synthetic substances, try banana for lessening the symptoms of constipation. The high levels of soluble fiber in banana normalize bowel motility.
6. Heartburn and acidity:
Banana acts as a natural antacid to neutralize the acidity, providing relief from heartburn and acid reflux. People suffering from stomach ulcer can consume banana without any distress as it coats the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids. It contains protease inhibitor, which protects the stomach from the unfriendly bacteria, the main cause of gastrointestinal problems. It also also stimulates cell proliferation, thickening the stomach mucous. This acts as a barrier against stomach acids.
7. Beneficial for pregnant women:
The calming properties of banana make it very beneficial for pregnant women. It can help combat the morning sickness. It replenishes the body and restores a healthy blood glucose level. Banana also regulates the pregnant woman’s temperature.
8. Mosquito bites:
Rubbing the inside of the banana peel can reduce the swelling and itching associated with mosquito bites. It works much better than many over the counter creams and medication.
Banana is a perfect food for people suffering from iron deficiency. Iron promotes hemoglobin production in the blood. This helps the body to clot at a faster rate in case of a cut or serious injury. The high iron content in bananas also prevents anemia.
10. Weight loss:
Bananas are the perfect food to include in a weight loss diet. It contains resistance starch, a type of carbohydrate that burn excess calories. The soluble fiber in banana absorbs water and slows the digestion as it reaches the digestive tract. The food stays for longer time in the stomach, keeping you fuller. Eat a banana before the lunch and dinner time to keep you from overeating.
11. Eye health:
Bananas can also give you healthy eyes. They have a moderate amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin required for improving the vision. The compounds present in banana preserve the membranes that surround the eyes and bring light into the cornea. A regular consumption of banana will reduce the risk of night blindness. It also contains beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, which convert vitamin A to keep the eyes healthy.
12. Immune system:
Banana contains high levels of antioxidants that neutralize the effects of free radical, protecting you from chronic diseases. Eating a medium sized banana everyday will also keep you from cold and flu.
13. Blood sugar levels:
Studies have proven that people who consume high fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels. They also have a well-balanced blood sugar, insulin levels and lipids. Pectin in bananas helps to normalize the rate of carbohydrate digestion, moderating the impact on the blood sugar. Eat a banana before every meal to stabilize the blood sugar levels. It also prevents binging between the meals.
Banana peel can help treat warts. Place the inside of a banana peel against the wart and secure it with a bandage. Repeat this method several times a day to heal wart in no time.
Consuming bananas in the first two years of life can reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. The fully ripe bananas produce a compound called tumor necrosis factor, which increases the white blood cell count, combating cancerous cell changes. The high levels of vitamin C in bananas combat the formation of free radicals that cause cancer. It also reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.
Selection and storage:
Bananas are picked off when they are still green. They turn yellow when they ripen. While purchasing bananas, make sure they are firm (not hard), bright in appearance and free from bruises. Its tips and stem should be intact. Since bananas contain a protective outer layer, they are unlikely to be contaminated with germs and dust.
Ready to eat bananas are bright yellow in color and exude a rich fruity fragrance. The skin falls off easily when it is ripe. Unripe bananas have a green peel and should not be consumed raw.
Banana is a fragile food and starts decaying in a short time. Hence, you should take care in its storage. The unripe ones should be stored at room temperature. They should never be stored in the refrigerator, as this will affect their ripening process. To hasten the ripening process, wrap bananas in a paper and place an apple with them. This will accelerate the ripening process. The peel will darken, but the flesh will remain fresh.
To get the best flavor from the banana, take them out from the refrigerator and allow them to come at the room temperature. A fully ripened banana contains the highest levels of antioxidants.
Banana can be stored and frozen for about 2 months. You can puree the banana before freezing or wrap the banana in a plastic wrapper after removing the peel. Add some lemon juice before freezing to prevent discoloration.
- Bananas can be eaten whole or as a part of a salad. You can also make a delicious smoothie out of it. Banana and blueberry milkshake is a refreshing breakfast drink.
- Besides, banana is also a wonderful addition to baked goods and salad. Mashed bananas are added to muffin, bread puddings, cakes and casseroles.
- Add chopped banana, walnuts and maple syrup to oatmeal and cereal to enhance their nutrient value.
- Bananas are also used to make jams.
- Banana chips are a very popular preparation in Asian countries. It is produced by dehydrating or frying the raw banana slices.
- Banana contains chitinases, a substance that is associated with latex fruit allergy. This can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
- Bananas can also cause skin and systematic allergic reactions. Oral allergy syndrome is a common side effect of excess banana consumption. The symptoms include itching and swelling around the mouth within a few hours of digestion.
I am sure you will never look at bananas the same way after discovering the above-mentioned benefits. Hope you liked the article. Do leave your comments below.