In this article we will be looking at the properties and health benefits / medicinal uses of banana.
Botanical name: Musa x paradisiaca L. var. sapientum
Banana is an aggregate fruit of the banana tree, Musa x paradisiaca L. var. sapientum, of the botanical family Musaceae which usually reaches a height of about 5 meters. Bananas grow in bunches that may weight as much as 50 kg and contain as many as 300 pieces.
Banana fruit due to its ease of use (can be eaten directly without any cutting) is one of the most consumed fruits in the world, precisely the second most consumed fruit. It easiness of use is not the only factor that makes it a popular consumed fruit, but its nutritious and medicinal values.
● Banana contains carbohydrates in high amounts, it represents about 21% of its total content. When bananas are cut off from their tree unripe (they ripen when plucked off from its parent tree), they are made up of primarily starch. When they become ripen, the starch converts to sugars such as glucose, saccharose, and fructose.
The starch presence in unripe bananas causes flatulence and indigestion. That is why these disorders are experienced when unripe bananas are2 consumed.
● Proteins and fats are contained in bananas in negligible amounts, representing about 1% and 0.5% respectively of its total content.
● Bananas are significantly rich in minerals. It contains high amounts of potassium, iron and magnesium. The high level of potassium in banana makes the fruit one of the best sources of this mineral.
● Vitamins present in banana in reasonable amounts include vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, and vitamin E. Another vitamin that is present in banana in richer amounts is vitamin B6. Just three medium sized bananas can provide the daily recommended dietary allowance for this vitamin.
● Banana contains vegetable fiber in significant amounts both soluble and insoluble. The presence of this fiber is attributed to bananas cholesterol-lowering effect as well as its intestinal-soothing effect.
● Another important substance known as serotonin is found in banana. This substance is attributed to various functions of banana such as stopping of pain in the spinal cord, and vasodilation of the arteries.
Health benefits / medicinal uses of banana
Below are some of the medicinal uses / values of banana fruit:
● Intestinal disorders – The consumption of banana is considered an effective treatment against several intestinal disorders. In cases of diarrhea in both children and adults, its consumption can be effective in stopping it. Bananas are also effective in cases of celiac disease which involves poor intestinal absorption along with diarrhea and undernourishment. This can be achieved by the consumption of banana in abundant amounts for some days, that is why banana along with other foods like rice are considered an ideal food for this disorder.
● Coronary disease – There are several reasons why banana is considered an ideal food for those suffering from coronary disease or circulatory system disorders. The following are some reasons:
banana contains B group vitamins which are required for the production of energy within the heart muscle.
Contains magnesium which stops arteriosclerosis as well as prevents heart attack.
It contains high amounts of vegetable fiber which in turn lowers cholesterol level.
Contains high amount of potassium and low amount of sodium. Bananas are known to have the highest amount of potassium in ratio to sodium among all fruits and vegetables. As already known, a diet rich in potassium and low in sodium prevents arterial hypertension, stroke, arrhythmia, and cancer.
The presence of serotonin also plays a role in preventing coronary disease. It helps act as a vasolidator.
Thus, the consumption of bananas is highly recommended in cases of :
arterial hypertension, and
● Uric arthritis and gout – Bananas are highly recommended in cases of uric arthritis and gout. Its consumption helps alkalize the blood, which in turn neutralize and eliminate the excess uric acid that causes arthritis and gout.
● Bananas are highly recommended in cases where treatment requiring a very low sodium diet is called for. They are highly indicated in cases of:
● Eye sight – The presence of small amounts of vitamin A in bananas helps keeps the eyes healthy. This vitamin A is important for the protection of vision, as they preserve the membranes that surround the eyes and also are an important component of a protein that brings light into the cornea.
● Anemia – The consumption of bananas is highly recommended in cases of anemia caused due to iron deficiency, this kind of anemia is called ”iron deficiency anemia”. As seen above, banana contains significant amounts of iron which can be an ideal source of iron for iron deficiency anemics.
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