Fruits provide us essential vitamins and minerals required for our body. Each fruit is a different source of such vitamins but banana is one such fruit that is rich in many vitamins and minerals. It is the king of all fruits. Although I know there are many people out there who avoid eating bananas due to the weight gaining myth. Bananas originate in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. According to an article published by The University of California, Santa Cruz, archeologists pinpoint the Kuk valley of Papua New Guinea as the first site of banana domestication circa 8,000 BCE. Since then, several regions domesticated other banana varieties via hybridization and centuries of refinement. In India, bananas are integral parts of the culture.
This fruit is a huge source of energy yet many of us do not realize the benefits of this marvelous fruit. Many of us are also not aware of the variety of bananas available to us and the health benefits each of these varieties have which is why I decided to come up with a list of these different varieties and the loads of nutrition and health benefits this wonder fruit is packed with.
Red bananas are sweeter than the yellow ones and have a flavor of raspberry. Red banana is a great source of fiber. Fiber or roughage is an indigestible carbohydrate obtained from plants. Fiber rich food is essential for regular bowel movements. People with chronic bowel issues such as constipation, indigestion or gas are recommended to have red bananas.
Red banana is rich in Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. Vitamin C gives protection against free radicals, thereby reducing the chances of cancer and heart attack. A single red banana contains 16% of the daily needed dose of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is highly important for the overall health
Red bananas are a good source of Iron and vitamin B6.These nutirents are essential for red blood cell metabolism and making hemoglobin.
Elaichi bananas are better than the yellow bananas. But the dotted yellow bananas are better than the elaichi banana. They are really small in size so just one might not be enough for you. But as I said this variety is loaded with healthy benefits that are often ignored by many due to its small size.
Raw bananas are almost entirely starch, which converts on ripening to an unusually high 20% sugar level. However this variety remains green even after ripening which is why it is also known as the green bananas. They can be equally sweet when compared to the yellow ones.
Virupakshi or hill banana is grown in the Shevroy and Palani ranges of south India, which is supposed to have the best taste of all. It is supposed to be a little priced compared to other varieties but after tasting it you would feel it is worth the money. The difference between a hill banana and commercial bananas, however, lies in pulp and fruit quality. The pulp of hill bananas is not as dry as that of commercial types. It is more watery and is less erect after peeling off the skin. It is somewhat leathery and does not break easily.The taste is also slightly different. It is sweet but with a tinge of sourness. There is feeling of heaviness in stomach after eating it.
This is the commercial variety which is very common and is loved by all. This can be eaten as well as used for shakes, smoothies and desserts. But compared to other varieties of banana this has less amount of nutrients.
Nutritional benefits of a medium sized banana
- 12% of your daily fiber, which helps with digestion and may help lower your risk of diabetes
- 17% of your vitamin C, which is important for your immune system as well as growth and development
- 20% of your vitamin B-6, which aids the body’s ability to convert food into energy
- 12% of your potassium, which helps in development of cells, tissues, and organs throughout the body
- 8% of your magnesium, which is important for the body’s energy productions and regulating glucose and blood pressure levels
That’s quite a lot of nutrients. So far we have only talked about the nutritional values of the fruit but do you know that more than the fruit it is the skin of the fruit that has double the nutrients in it. Surprised! Well, I thought so but unlike many of us, who peel the skin and throw it in the trash, there are many who eat the inner portion of the peel and you would be surprised when I tell you all about the peel.
- Rub the banana peel every day for a week on your teeth for about a minute. This actually results in teeth whitening
- Add a few slices of banana peel to a bucket of water and let the mixture sit for a couple of days. Use this to water your planets. The added nutrients from the banana will keep your plants growing strong.
- Just massage banana peels on your face and body for 5 minutes every day to cure pimples. The results should be visible within a week. Keep applying the peels till the acne disappears.
- Apply the banana peel directly on the painful area. Leave it for 30 minutes till the pain is gone. A mixture of vegetable oil and banana peel also helps in pain relief.
- Place your meat atop a ripe banana peel in your roasting pan to keep the meat moist and tender as it cooks
- Rub the banana peel on leather shoes, jackets and furniture. Blend a peel with water and use the mixture to polish silver.
- It’s not necessary to throw overripe bananas; they can be perfect ingredients for desserts, muffins or cakes. Just freeze them in zip top bags.
- Add some dried banana peels to the feed of chicken and livestock.
- Banana peel helps in protecting the eyes from the harmful UV rays. Make sure you leave the peel under the sun before rubbing the banana peel on your eyes. It is also proven to reduce the risk of cataracts.
- You can make banana vinegar from the peels that can then be added to salads and vegetables.
Other super amazing facts about bananas
Eating bananas will help prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption.
- Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels of potassium.
- Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing protection from free radicals and chronic disease.
- Eating a banana between meals helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness.
- Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a fever or on a hot day.
- The natural mood-enhancer tryptophan helps to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
- Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress to relieve stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids.
I bet you did not know all this .Now you know why this tropical fruit is also called a wonder fruit but sadly many of us do not recognize the nutritional value of such a fruit. However we need to keep one thing in mind that bananas taste best when they have tiny little dots on the skin instead of being bare yellow. With that note I hope those who have avoided bananas so far realize the importance of this miracle fruit.