“Fruits are good for health” – is something we hear all the time. But when it comes to a question of almost universally preferred and also easily accessible, it is the banana. Most kids love it, and most adults love it. So let’s talk about what makes bananas a great fruit and worth including in your diet.
Firstly, bananas are the ideal fruit for overall health benefits. In fact, if you happen to be the sort who is watching your weight, the banana is the fruit to watch. Compared to other fruits, bananas carry more benefits thanks to their carbohydrate-Vitamin B combination, which gives you an instant energy boost.
A little banana “gyaan”
Said to have originated in Malaysia, the banana came to India in the 6th century. Today, of course, they are among the most common fruits we see just about everywhere. We get them in yellow, green and red. Bananas not only have health benefits, but also medicinal properties. In fact, every part of the banana plant is useful – its leaves, its fruit, its flowers and its stem.
Okay, let us look at the benefits already:
Gives you an energy boost
Most people are aware of this. Attention, all those who work late – an average banana will give you 100 calories and that shot of sucrose, fructose and glucose which convert into instant energy. Ever notice how athletes eat bananas often? Start your day with a banana sliced into your breakfast cereal – or eat it along with whatever breakfast you enjoy. (If you are the sort who skips breakfast, well – just wait until I post about the importance of breakfast and why you shouldn’t miss yours!)
Makes you more alert
Bananas have scientifically proven to make you more alert because they improve your brain activity. So that’s one more reason to start your day with a banana.
Remedy for dysentery
I have discovered this first hand. Mash a banana with a pinch of salt to relieve dysentery. You can use this for children also – just make sure you mash the ripe banana into a smoothie without lumps.
Heals intestinal problems
The ripe banana is perhaps the safest raw fruit one can take in case of intestinal or digestive problems because not only is it soft but also bland. It does not hurt ulcers. In fact, it soothes the stomach lining and relieves ulcerative colitis. The banana is easily digested and promotes healing.
Relieves the runs
Interestingly, bananas are good for both diarrhea and constipation. Talk about two-faced! The fact is – they help the large intestine restore normalcy to the way it works. They help the colon absorb water to make bowel movement easy. In constipation, they add bulk. They are rich in pectin. They also convert the intestine’s bad bacteria to – you guessed it – good bacteria! (Acidophilus bacilli).
BRAT Diet for children
Bananas are part of the BRAT diet, recommended by doctors for children suffering from gastro intestinal disorders, especially diarrhea. BRAT stands for: Bananas, Rice cereal, Applesauce, Toast. The foods have binding properties that make the stools harder.
Have a hangover? Have a banana!
Did you know that the “morning after” the night before – especially if you had one too many to drink, can be relieved with a banana milkshake and honey? The reason is – it soothes your tummy and restores your body’s blood sugar and potassium levels.
Kick the butt
Yes, banana helps you to chuck the smoking habit. This is because it promotes nicotine withdrawal with its magnesium, vitamin C, A1, B6 and B12 and potassium content.
Lowers your risk of stroke
Bananas contain potassium, which our body needs to balance its electrolytes and also control blood pressure. When this balance is reached, our risk of a heart attack or stroke is reduced. One medium banana contains 450 mg of potassium. Potassium is also good for bone health.
Enhances your mood
The banana contains an essential amino acid “tryptophan”, that helps produce serotonin, a hormone necessary to boost our mood and relieve stress.
Anemic? Here’s a natural solution
If you or someone you know is anemic, bananas are good for you because of their high iron content, which treats anemia. They trigger the production of hemoglobin in your blood.
Remedy for allergy
If you happen to be allergic to specific foods which result in skin rash, an onset of asthma or problems with digestion, consider the banana – which is the mildest of fruits.
Useful for those with kidney disorders
Being low in protein and salt and high in carbohydrates, bananas are proven to be useful in a toxic kidney condition called “uremia” which results in kidney dysfunction.
THAT time of the month no longer has to be painful. When you cook and eat banana flowers with curds, (LR – this is your cue to add a recipe!) it can relieve painful periods and excessive bleeding by raising the levels of progesterone.
Relieves urinary problems
The banana stem’s juice cures urinary problems by helping the kidney and liver function more efficiently. Basically, it helps the body’s excretory organs to do their job well. You’ve probably heard of the banana stem’s role in eliminating kidney stones, gall stones and prostate health. It is particularly effective when taken with ash gourd. (pooshanikkai, gummadikai – you know, the one they use for drishti)
Helps you lose weight
Go on a diet of bananas and skimmed milk and watch your weight decrease.
Rub the inside of the banana skin on the mosquito bite for relief from swelling and itchiness.
These are just some of the ways bananas are used. So – reach for a banana more often than you would normally do and enjoy its benefits. To me, they are the perfect no-need-to-cook snack on the go.