myUpchar प्लस+ के साथ पूरेे परिवार के हेल्थ खर्च पर भारी बचत

A lot of rhymes and interesting stories for children are made on bananas. This tasty and nutritious fruit grows on the herbaceous banana plant. The word banana has been derived from the Arabic word ‘banan’, which means fingertips. There are various regions where bananas are grown worldwide but mainly these can be found in the tropical regions. Mostly banana plants are grown for its fruits; botanically these are a type of berry. Some are also grown for ornamental purpose or for their fibres, which are very strong. There are about 110 various species of banana. Popularly, as per our culture and commerce, "banana" is usually referred to as the soft and sweet kind. Hence, they also called dessert bananas. Other kinds or cultivars of this fruit have a firmer and starchier fruit. Those are usually known as plantains. Plantains are mostly used for cooking dishes or for their fibre.

Soaps are being made using the ash of bananas. In Asia, plants that grow in shade are provided with it by using banana plants. These include cocoa, coffee, black pepper, and nutmeg. Because of this reason, banana plants can also be found in plantations along with other crops.

The banana plant is counted as the largest herbaceous flowering plant. Thus, banana plants are often mistaken for being trees. Unripe bananas are always green in colour, which is different from the ripen ones, which turn yellow or reddish in colour. The fashion of growth for the banana leaves is spiral, and it may grow 2.65 metres long and 60 cm wide. Able to be easily torn by the wind provides them with a frayed look.

More than 170 countries across the globe are growing bananas because of its nutritional benefits. Bananas play a significant role in increasing the economy of developing countries. It is considered a superfood because of its numerous health benefits. It is high in vitamin B6, low in calories and fat and very easy to digest. It is considered a holistic food because it contains fibre, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Bananas have a peculiar shape like that of an arc which makes its appearance very appealing. They are the favourite of monkeys too!

Basic Facts about Banana

  • Botanical name:  Musa acuminate
  • Family: Musaceae
  • Genus: Musa
  • Common Name: Banana
  • Sanskrit name: "Kadalī"
  • Parts used: Skin, pulp, fruits and stem.
  • Distribution of banana growing areas: Bananas, like other tropical fruits, are grown in Africa, Latin America, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. Banana is the staple food for many developing countries. Only 15 to 20% of all bananas are exported to the global market for commercial use.
  • Interesting facts about banana: The scientific name for the banana that was used earlier, is Musa sapientum, it means “fruit of the wise men”. Bananas tend to float in water as apples and watermelons do. The only place in the U.S. is Hawaii where bananas are grown commercially, although they were also once grown in Southern California and Florida.
  1. Nutritional facts of banana
  2. Health benefits of bananas
  3. Side effects of banana
  4. Takeaway

Bananas are a rich source of vitamin C, and potassium and based on the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 g of bananas contain the following values:

Nutrient Value per 100 g
Water 74.91 g
Energy 89 kcal
Protein 1.09 g
Fats 0.33 g
Carbohydrate 22.84 g
Fibre 2.6 g
Sugars 12.23 g
Minerals  
Calcium 5 mg
Iron 0.26 mg
Magnesium 27 mg
Phosphorus 22 mg
Potassium 358 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Zinc 0.15 mg
Vitamins  
Vitamin B1 0.031 mg
Vitamin B2 0.073 mg
Vitamin B3 0.665 mg
Vitamin B6 0.367 mg
Vitamin A 3 µg
Vitamin C 8.7 mg
Vitamin E 0.10 mg
Vitamin K 0.5 µg
Vitamin B9 20 µg

(Read more - Vitamin B benefits and source)

As we have mentioned above, bananas are very nutritious and have several health benefits. They are not only a good source of energy but are also good for the heart, gut, kidneys, and other body organs. Some of these benefits have been discussed below.

  • Provides energy: Banana is rich on three of the most common sugars, that is, Glucose, fructose and sucrose. Together, these sugars provide you with a constant source of energy so you can go about your day’s work with ease.
  • Helps lower blood pressure: Banana is one of the best sources of potassium, which is important for maintaining optimum blood pressure levels in the body. It has been reported that banana has a similar action to that of some anti-hypertensive drugs and regular consumption of banana is very helpful in reducing blood pressure levels.
  • Beneficial for babies: Being rich in nutrient content, banana is an excellent food for babies. They are easily digested and do not lead to allergies or gastric problems.
  • Regulates bowel movements: The high fibre content of banana makes it the perfect food for relieving gastrointestinal problems like constipation and diarrhoea. It binds to the food in intestine and provides bulk to food, improving the passage stools. Also, it regulates the ability of colon to absorb large amounts of water, which is further helpful in regulating bowel movements.
  • Improves cardiovascular health: Being a natural hypotensive food, banana helps decrease the risk of heart attack and strokes. It also contains ample amounts of antioxidants, which aid in improving the overall health of your heart.
  1. Banana for instant energy
  2. Banana for a healthy heart
  3. Banana for a healthy gut
  4. Banana regulates bowel movement
  5. Banana for depression
  6. Banana for acidity
  7. Banana for Alzheimer's disease
  8. Banana is good for kidneys
  9. Banana for babies
  10. Banana for blood pressure
  11. Banana for hangovers
  12. Banana controls cholesterol levels
  13. Banana for immunity

Banana for instant energy

Sucrose, fructose and glucose, the three sugars present in the banana are combined with fibre to give instant energy to us. So, have a banana whenever you are tired to boost your energy. In fact, bananas are the first choice of athletes because of their high energy giving capability. 

Banana for a healthy heart

A decrease in potassium level in the body could lead to an increased risk of stroke. A recent clinical study conducted on 5600 people over 65 years of age revealed that those who had a low intake of potassium were at a 50% more risk of developing a stroke. The risk of stroke may be lowered by consuming potassium-rich foods like bananas, but more studies still need to be done to confirm this.

Furthermore, banana is a storehouse of antioxidants. These are active compounds that fight free radical damage and decrease oxidative stress on heart muscles. This helps in preventing cardiovascular diseases and keeping your heart functioning to the optimum.

Banana for a healthy gut

Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of a carbohydrate known as fructooligosaccharide. This compound provides nourishment to the friendly bacterium in the colon of the stomach. These beneficial bacteria excel in producing vitamins and digestive enzymes which improve the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients and compounds, which in turn, safeguard us against unfriendly microbes. When fructooligosaccharides are fermented by such protective bacteria, not only the numbers of probiotic bacteria increase, but it also increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium, an important mineral for our bones.

Banana regulates bowel movement

Banana fruit is rich in non-digestible fibres (like cellulose, alpha-glucans and hemicellulose). Such fibre helps in restoring normal bowel or the digestive activity, thus helping with both constipation and diarrhoea. It works by normalizing the colon’s ability to absorb large amounts of water for regular bowel movements. Bananas are useful due to their richness in pectin. Pectin is a good water-absorbent and this also gives them the ability to produce bulk.

Banana for depression

A clinical study conducted on people suffering from depression showed that consumption of a banana helped to elevate the mood and made them feel better. Bananas contain a type of protein called tryptophan which the body converts into serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for improving the mood, relaxing the mind and generally making one feel happier.

Banana for acidity

Bananas have been known for their antacid effect since very long. Such an effective antacid ability helps to protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage as well. A flavonoid, a plant product which is not useful for the plant but for humans, is present in banana, which is known as leucocyanidin. This substance helps in increasing the thickness of the inner membrane of the stomach, which is the sticky mucous membrane. As acidity is related to the sudden occurrence of heartburn, bananas are a potential treatment to get rid of it. Interestingly, in the recent studies, suppressed acid secretion was noticed by the simple mixture of banana and milk.

Banana for Alzheimer's disease

The researchers of the Cornell University found out that banana extracts prevent neurotoxicity.  Fruits such as apples, bananas, and oranges contain phenolic phytochemicals. These results showed that if these fruits are included in our daily diet with other fruits, they protect the neurons from stress-induced oxidative neurotoxicity. This may play a pivotal role in diminishing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like the Alzheimer’s disease.

Banana is good for kidneys

Bananas, being enriched with potassium, promote the overall functional efficiency of the kidneys. Normal intake of potassium in the diet ensures that there is no excretion of calcium in the urine and subsequently there is a lesser risk of developing kidney stones. Interestingly, women who consume at least 2.5 servings of fruits and vegetables per month were found to be at a 40% lesser risk of developing kidney cancer. Women who prefer eating bananas at least four to six times a week reduce the risk of developing the disease to almost 50% as compared to those who do not.

Banana for babies

Mothers can trust bananas as they are the best solid food for their infants. A mashed ripe banana is a very simple and healthy baby food. Bananas are digested and do not easily cause any allergic reactions in the stomach. They are a major part of the diet known as BRAT diet, recommended for children who are recovering from gastrointestinal problems, especially diarrhoea. Recent research shows that a higher consumption of bananas may protect children against wheezing.

Banana for blood pressure

Bananas are very rich in potassium which is important for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Potassium also helps the body to maintain the normal fluid and electrolyte balance of cells. 350 mg of potassium can be obtained from a medium-sized banana. Scientists have also reported that the natural compounds in bananas act like anti-hypertensive drugs. Studies showed that people who consumed 2 bananas daily for a week recorded a 10% fall in blood pressure.

Banana for hangovers

A night of heavy drinks strips the body of essential fluids and dehydrates it. Bananas are enriched with important electrolytes, potassium and magnesium. The fastest and the best remedy for a hangover is a dairy banana cocktail with milk and honey. Bananas are very effective in calming an upset stomach and also helps to rehydrate the body. Honey and bananas together provide instant energy and raise the blood sugar levels.

Banana controls cholesterol levels

Banana has been blessed with a tremendous potential to lower the blood cholesterol. The cholesterol-lowering effect is due to the dietary fibre component in banana and this remains constant during its ripening, which serves best for the purpose. Bananas are a good source of dietary fibre which helps in controlling the LDL or bad cholesterol.

Banana for immunity

Bananas are a powerhouse of nutrients. They contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, iron, fibre and magnesium. Intake of a banana ensures 25% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 serves as an immunity booster and is essential for producing red blood cells and antibodies. It also helps in the metabolism of fats. It shields and safeguards against infectious diseases. An average sized banana makes up for 15% of the RDA of the strongest antioxidant, vitamin C.

  1. It may cause allergic reactions.
    It is not advisable to eat a banana if you are asthmatic or are allergic to plant parts such as pollen. The latex present in the bananas causes hypersensitivity which leads to the self-attack of cells. Symptoms like wheezing, coughing, itchy throat, runny nose and watery eyes are common with such an allergy.
  2. Migraine headaches
    Banana and alcohol is not a very wise combination because when they are consumed together, they can aggravate migraine headaches.
  3. Other Side effects:
  • It can lead to the formation of excess gas. (Read more - HOme remedies for bloating)
  • It is said that it may cause type 2 diabetes.
  • It is believed to cause drowsiness.
  • It may cause tooth decay.

Unlike other fruits, fresh bananas are available all year-round. Ripening process of bananas is constant even after they are harvested. Bananas are preferred to be stored at room temperature. Adding banana to a morning cereal or oatmeal can be a more nutritious breakfast. Ripe mashed bananas used in baked goods can replace oil or butter. Muffins, cookies and cakes tend to get moist and have a naturally sweet flavour due to mashed bananas. Enjoy a smoothie with bananas. Like any eatable, banana also has its side effects; it all depends on us and how we consume it.

और पढ़ें ...

References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 09040, Bananas, raw. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  2. K. P. Sampath Kumar, Debjit Bhowmik, S.Duraivel, M.Umadevi. Traditional and medicinal uses of banana. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
  3. Manoj Sarangi. A Review on Banana Starch. Inventi Rapid: Planta Activa Vol. 2014, Issue 3
  4. Singh B, Singh JP, Kaur A, Singh N. Bioactive compounds in banana and their associated health benefits - A review. Food Chem. 2016 Sep 1;206:1-11. PMID: 27041291
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Banana
  6. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Can potassium in bananas cut your stroke risk?.
  7. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Healthy breakfasts (for people who hate breakfast).
  8. Health Harvard Publishing. Harvard Medical School [Internet]. News Briefs: Study finds bananas a good energy source for exercisers. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.