Health Benefits Of Banana
Banana is a very common fruit found throughout India and through all the seasons. It is available in different sizes, colours and different varieties in different states. The raw banana is cooked as vegetable and a variety of snacks are prepared. Not a single part of banana plant is wasted. Its flower, bark, leaves and fruit all are used for different purposes. The fruit can be easily carried while travelling, a good replacement to food and gives sufficient energy to the body. The fruit is considered as very auspicious and is used in all religious and social functions such as marriages, ceremonies etc. It is called Kadali Phalam in Sanskrit. The significance of offering banana in temples and other religious functions attributes to the fact that it is cultivated seedless as in the case of coconut.
Banana contain more than 74 per cent of water, 23 per cent carbohydrates, vitamin A and iron, five times more than in an apple, three times as much phosphorus and 2.6 per cent fiber. These figures vary according to the weather conditions and the stage of ripening of the fruit etc. The place and type of cultivation effects a lot and these values keep changing. The raw banana contain carbohydrates in the form of starch. As the banana ripens this starch changes into sugar. This is why banana is sweet and fully ripe banana contains 1-2 per cent sugar which provides energy to the body. Moreover, it contains potassium and is beneficial for those who suffer from blood pressure and ailments in large intestine.
This fruit is one of the highly consumed fruits in the world. It is a complete food as it contains all the essential vitamins and minerals, a human body needs. Let us see how it helps our body.
■ Those who come into contact with the tree called “poison ivy” in America are infected with a type of skin disease. It is cured by rubbing the inner part of the banana peel.
■ A chemical called BanLec in banana fights very effectively against the AIDS virus. The chemical Lectin in banana stops the virus from entering the body and fights against the infection. The chemical spreads itself on the protein of the cell and stops to spread the disease.
■ There is an old belief that those pregnant women who aspire to have girl child should refrain from eating banana, probably due to the high content of potassium.
■ The high content of potassium helps control high blood pressure.
■ Removes the poisonous toxins from the body.
■ Banana contains amino acid in the form of tryptophan which turns into serotonin as it enters our body and gives relief from mental tension. One banana with one cup of milk helps to get good sleep.
■ The potassium in banana keeps the muscles in the body strong and healthy. Those who are dieting can skip a meal and eat banana along with skimmed milk to be energetic.
■ Banana acts as a good medicine for digestive problems. Those recovering from the ailment can eat banana for fast recovery.
■ Raw banana helps to control diarrhea and the fruit helps to get relief from constipation, controls ulcers.
■ Owing to banana’s nature to produce new cells in the body, it protects the thin layer that covers the walls of digestive system from decaying.
■ Banana shake along with milk, ice cubes and sugar makes a refreshing summer drink. Now banana powder is also available in the market which can be used for medicinal and dietary purposes.
■ Though banana juice cannot be extracted, there are many banana flavoured snacks such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, ice-creams and jams etc. are available in the market.
■ A variety of dishes is prepared with banana trunk and flowers. They are even used for decorative purposes in marriages etc. Leaves are used for serving food and for packing which is quite eco-friendly.
■ Not to throw the banana if it ripens and turns black. Take a small piece of banana in your hand smoothen it with your finger and apply to your face, wait for 15 minutes and then wash off with cold water. You can see the glow on your face. Thus, it is good for the skin, too.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna