Bananas are elliptically shaped fruits “prepackaged” by Nature, featuring a firm, creamy flesh gift-wrapped inside a thick inedible peel and are one of the cheapest and easily available all year around. Bananas (Musa acuminata colla) botanically belong to the Musaceae family and are one of the widely cultivated crops in the tropical and subtropical zones.
Bananas abound in hundreds of edible varieties that fall under two distinct species: the sweet banana and the plantain banana. Sweet bananas can have red, pink, purple and black skin tones when ripe apart from the customary yellow skin. Plantain bananas are usually cooked and considered more like a vegetable due to their starchier qualities; they have a higher beta-carotene concentration than most sweet bananas.
Bananas are thought to have originated in Malaysia around 4,000 years ago. From there, they spread throughout the Philippines and India and were introduced to Africa by Arabian traders. In 1482 A.D. Portuguese explorers took them to the Americas, the place where the majority of bananas are now produced. In the United States, the most familiar varieties are Big Michael, Martinique and Cavendish.
Top 24 Reasons For Going Bananas:
- Protects Heart Diseases and Strokes: Bananas are low in Sodium and high in magnesium, calcium and potassium, which helps maintain the body’s electrolyte and fluid balance in the body cells, drastically reducing the risk of developing heart diseases and strokes.
- Kidney Disorders: Bananas contain rich source of antioxidant phenolic compounds, low levels of protein and salt, while having high carb content, making it super effective in treating kidney and urinary disorders like uremia, nephritis, toxic condition of the blood, kidney congestion, kidney and prostrate stones, and kidney dysfunction.
- Aids Digestion: Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body. They are a rich source of fructooligosaccharides which act as a prebiotic, producing nutrient- absorbing digestive enzymes, and stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestine. Ripe banana is very useful for treating colitis and promotes short chain fatty acids along the colon cell linings keeping it healthy.
- Constipation and Diarrhea: Raw Bananas, through their astringent action, covert harmful infection causing bacteria in the intestines into profitable acidophilic bacillus, soothe the digestive tract, and help restore lost electrolytes like potassium, after a bout of diarrhoea. Soluble fiber Pectin found in Bananas, help to alleviate constipation and improves bowel function.
- Relieving Stomach Pain/Ulcers: A mixture of milk, banana and honey helps remedy stomach aches by soothing, rehydrating, getting potassium levels to normal, and controlling blood sugar levels. Bananas have an antacid effect that protect against stomach ulcers. They contain a compound called as protease inhibitor which protects the stomach from unfriendly bacteria which cause stomach or gastrointestinal disturbances.
- Heighten Brain Function: Banana is a rich source of B vitamins and therefore perks up nerve function. Potassium, in banana keeps the mental function alert and boosts cognition and learning abilities.
- Helps Quit Smoking: Bananas contain high levels of Vitamins B6 and B12 which along with magnesium and Potassium helps fight nicotine addiction and speeds recovery from the effects of withdrawal.
- Prevents Allergies: Bananas contain benign amino acids that help combat allergies.
- Anti- Anemia: Bananas are high on iron, which stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood, nourish and strengthen the quality of your blood and relieve anemia.
- Energy Booster: The simple natural sugars, fructose, glucose and sucrose contained in calorie dense bananas, stabilize your blood sugar and get converted into instantly available and sustainable energy. Great after a strenuous workout to fight fatigue and exhaustion.
- Mood Enhancer: Bananas contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid which is responsible for the production of serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter. Serotonin is a hormone that is known to treat depression and improve mood.
- Prevents Muscle Cramps: If you are affected by muscle pulls and painful cramps during workouts or during nighttime, try eating a banana before getting started with your exercise regimen or before bedtime.
- Strengthens Bones: Banana has shown remarkable results in counteracting the loss of calcium loss during urination, due to the presence of potassium. Also prebiotic bacteria present in bananas quickly absorb calcium in the body that helps in building and maintaining our skeletal framework.
- Relieves PMS Symptoms: Bananas contain Vitamin B6, serotonin, tryptophan, dopamine, etc. that regulate blood sugar levels, reduce nausea from morning sickness, and help combat symptoms of PMS, erratic mood swings, and depression.
- Insect Bite Relief: Rubbing the affected part with the inside of a banana peel helps relieve itching and irritation associated with bug bites, hives, or mosquito bites.
- Lowers Cholesterol: The water soluble fibers Pectin, psyllium, beta-glucan etc., help lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol without disturbing the good (HDL) cholesterol.
- Anti Oxidant: Bananas are a great source of carotenoids (antioxidants) and phenolic compounds, and abundant fibers, providing protection from free radical damage to body cells, reducing risk of various types of cancer especially bowel cancer.
- Induces Sleep: The amino acid-Tryptophan triggers production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Also the very high carbohydrate content in bananas helps the brain to utilize tryptophan and serotonin in producing this sleep hormone.
- Soothes Puffy Eyes: The potassium rich banana draws out excess fluid from under my skin and reduces the swelling immediately, making the puffiness vanish.
- Hair Care: Banana is rich in potassium, natural oils, carbohydrates and vitamins which help in softening the hair, protecting the hair’s natural elasticity, preventing split ends and breakage, controlling dandruff and leaving your hair shiny and lustrous.
- Skin Care: Vitamin A hydrates and repairs damaged, dull, dry skin, and flaky skin. Banana contains generous amount of Vitamin C and other nutrients that help fight the signs of skin aging by reducing wrinkles and keeps the skin youthful.
- Foot Care: The moisturizing property of banana can be used to get rid of cracked heels. Use mashed banana pulp and apply on clean, dry feet. The banana pulp will penetrate deep into dry, cracked skin to create soft and supple feet.
- Boost your Weight: The combination of milk- with its protein, and bananas – with its natural sugars, has been a long recommended remedy for anyone wanting to gain weight.
- Vision Care: The effect of potassium in enabling better calcium absorption helps protects the eyes against age related macular degeneration.
Side Effects and Precautions:
- Latex Allergy: Like avocados and chestnuts, bananas and plantain contain substances called chitinases that are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome which causes urticaria and potentially serious gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Oral Allergy: Bananas may be the cause of “oral allergy syndrome” whose symptoms may include itching and swelling around the mouth or throat within hours after ingestion and the condition may be related to birch tree and other pollen allergies.