Amazing Banana Fruit Health Benefits
Banana fruit nutrition facts and health benefits
Go for banana fruit, nature’s own energy-rich food that comes in a safety envelope! Fresh, delicious bananas are available year around and in fact, one of the cheapest fruits. Botanically, the fruit belongs to the family of Musaceae. Commercially, it is one of the widely cultivated crops in the tropical and subtropical zones.
Scientific name: Musa acuminata colla.
Banana is a perennial herbaceous plant that develops from the underground rhizome. It flourishes well under tropical moisture-rich, humid low-lying farmlands.
In fact, the whole plant is a false stem (pseudostem), consisting of broad leaves along with their petioles overlapping around each other in a circular fashion standing up to 2 to 6 meters tall from the ground surface depending upon the cultivar types. At maturity, the rhizome gives rise to flower (inflorescence) that is carried up on a long smooth un-branched stem through the centre of the pseudo-stem emerging out at the top in the centre of the leaf cluster. The flower subsequently develops to hanging bunch consisting of 3 to 20 hands (tiers), each with at least 5-10 fingers (fruits) in each hand (tier). Banana plant or plantain bears hanging clusters of fruits as a bunch. Fruits are arranged in tiers, with 6-20 fruits in each tier. You may also like to read: Serious Side Effects Of Eating Bananas
There are several cultivars of banana grown with different size (4”-9”inch), color (yellow to brown), weight (70-150g) and taste. Structurally, fruit has a protective outer skin and delicious, sweet and tart, creamy-white color edible flesh inside.
Plantains are other cultivar types, more often used as cooking bananas. They are closely related to the familiar fruit banana or dessert banana. Plantains are used as a staple diet in Thailand, Laos, and other Southeast Asian as well as in many parts of tropical African and Caribbean regions.
Health benefits of banana fruit
Banana fruit is one of the high calorie tropical fruits. 100 g of fruit provides 90 calories. Besides, it contains good amounts of health benefiting anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Banana pulp is composed of soft, easily digestible flesh with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly; thus, for these qualities, bananas are being used by athletes to get instant energy and as supplement food in the treatment plan for underweight children.
The fruit contains a good amount of soluble dietary fiber (7% of DRA per 100 g) that helps normal bowel movements; thereby reducing constipation problems. You may also like to read: 7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Banana Flowers
It contains health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, ß and α-carotenes in small amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
It is also a very good source of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), provides about 28% of daily-recommended allowance. Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has a beneficial role for the treatment of neuritis, and anemia. Further, it helps decrease homocystine (one of the causative factors in coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels within the body.
The fruit is an also moderate source of vitamin-C (about 8.7 mg per 100g). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
Fresh bananas provide adequate levels of minerals like copper, magnesium, and manganese. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.
Fresh banana is a very rich source of potassium. 100 g fruit provides 358 mg potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering bad effects of sodium.
Courtesy of Nutrition-and-you