"Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot BUNCH!
Daylight come and me wan' go home."
The Banana Boat Song- Harry Belafonte
The banana is one of the few fruits that has actually had a song composed in its honour. Many of us have listened to Harry Belafonte's classic Banana Boat Song some time or the other, but how much do we really know about the banana?
Bananas are originally from Malaysia. They were then brought to India around the 6th century. By 200 A.D., there were banana plantations set up in southern China. Here they were considered to be exotic fruits. It is said that when Alexander the Great visited India during his campaign in 327 A.D., he savoured bananas and took them to the western world.
This fruit comes in yellow, green, and red varieties and has been proven to have a number of medicinal benefits.
A Source of Potassium
Bananas are a natural source of potassium. Potassium is important for the human body as it helps keep the body fluids and electrolyte balance in body cells and helps in regulating blood pressure. Higher levels of potassium in the body can reduce the possibility of a stroke. The fact that bananas are high in potassium and low in salt makes them ideal for people who are suffering from blood pressure problems and have to watch their salt intake.
Research also states that potassium can help in improving a person's alertness. However, it should be noted that excessive quantities of potassium cause decreased heart muscle activity. A medium-size banana contains at least 450 mg of potassium
Vital Vitamins and Minerals
Bananas pack their share of vitamins. Large-size bananas have high amounts of vitamin A in them. Vitamin A is essential for the development of specialised tissue in the eyes. It is also important for the growth of the skin and soft skeletal tissue. Vitamin B is also present in the form of Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Folic acid. These help in calming the nervous system. Bananas also have a small amount of Vitamin C in them.
Bananas have their share of electrolytes too. Electrolytes are elements like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. They are important for maintaining the body's fluid level and preventing dehydration. So, bananas can form an important part of the diet for a person who is suffering from diarrhoea.
Bananas are also a natural source of iron. The iron found in bananas can help in the creation of haemoglobin, thus making bananas an ideal fruit for people who are suffering from anaemia.
Other Benefits of Bananas
- Bananas are fruits that are high in
fibre, making them an ideal remedy for constipation and an alternative
to chemical laxatives.
- Bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan
is converted by the body into serotonin, which relaxes a person and
helps in improving one's mood.
- Bananas are considered to be a natural solution to hangovers. A banana milkshake mixed with honey will help to calm the stomach and build up depleted blood sugar levels at the same time.
- Bananas can act as a natural antacid. This gives relief to a person who is suffering from heartburn.
- The inside of the banana skin when rubbed on a mosquito bite is found to reduce the swelling and irritation.
- Bananas are an ideal diet for people who are trying to quit smoking.
This is because of the combination of Vitamin C, A1, B6, and B12 that
helps the body to recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
- Due to the high level of potassium in them, bananas are
considered to be an excellent snack when a person is highly stressed or
is working late at the office. This is because potassium helps to
normalise the heartbeat sending oxygen to the brain. Increased
metabolic rates during stress reduce our potassium levels. Bananas help
to replenish them.
- Research conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine states that a regular intake of bananas in your diet can help reduce the possibility of stroke by up to 40 percent.
- Bananas are an ideal fruit to be eaten when a person is suffering from ulcers. This is due to the soft texture of the fruit which makes it easily digestible, combined with its ability to neutralise acidity.
Bananas need to be treated with care as they bruise easily. The ideal way to store bananas is to keep them at room temperature. In order to ripen bananas, you can either wrap them in a newspaper or keep them in a brown paper bag. If you store a banana in a fridge it will turn black. However it will still be edible.
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- The Indiaparenting Team