In India, especially in Southern states, there is a tradition of eating food on banana leaves as it is considered to be healthy and auspicious. There are several reasons linked with eating food on Banana leaves, ranging from scientific reasons to generic benefits.
Banana leaf is considered to contain several nutrients which may not be possible to be included in the daily food intake. Consuming food served on banana leaves, dissolve the nutrition from the leaf into the food, potentially offers several health benefits, which would not have been possible otherwise.
Banana tree is considered to be one of the most auspicious tree in The Hindu tradition. It is the favourite fruit of Lord Ganesh – the Hindu god believed to be a ‘Vighna Vinashak’ problem solver.
Said to offer immense health benefits, some of which are mentioned in this articles, we can also make tea/decoction using banana peels and/or banana leaves.
Few of the potential benefits of eating on a Banana Leaf…
Eating on banana leaves is not only flavourful, hygienic, chemical–free but is healthy is every manner. Below are a few of these potential benefits.
1/6. Banana leaves are rich in anti-oxidants
1. Banana leaves are a rich source of natural antioxidants such as polyphenols. Polyphenols helps fight against free radicals which are responsible for several diseases. Food when served on the banana leaves absorbs the polyphenols, which then assimilates into the body upon consumption. These antioxidants help fight free radicals thus, preventing several lifestyle diseases, ageing and certain types of cancers.
The antioxidants in banana leaves also contains polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme that produces L-DOPA, which is used in treating motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease.
2. Banana leaves is also said to possess anti-bacterial properties, which possibly kills the germs in food.
3. The chemical Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – a poly phenolic molecules that help fight diabetes. EGCG also makes banana leaves anti-fungal, antioxidant, and antibacterial.
4. The antioxidant contents of banana leaves help in cleansing the blood and in boosting the immunity.
5. Eating food on banana leaves helps build a healthy bacterial flora in the gut.
2/6. Eating on banana leaves is hygienic
1. Eating on banana leaves is a hygienic option as there is no need to wash it with soap and hence, there are no chances of traces of soap remaining on the leaf even after washing. Thus, eating on banana leaf poses no such risk of contamination.
2. Banana leaves are waterproof which prevents the sticking of harmful chemical liquid fertilisers on its surface thus, making it a safe option. Banana leaves have a waxy coating which prevents dust and dirt from sticking on the surface of the leaves. This also adds an earthy flavour to the food that is served on the leaves.
3. Banana leaves fail to require much cleaning as they possess a natural property of repelling dust and microbes. Hence, they are just to be rinsed in water before use.
4. Banana leaves have waterproof Quality. The waterproof quality of banana leaves makes it easy to consume liquid food.
This traditional and healthy way of eating is find its way back into the mainstream. In fact, of late, a few of e-commerce platforms have started selling the leaves online.
3/6. Offers pleasant flavour & aroma
The thin wax coating present on the banana leaf melts when hot food is served on it. This coating releases a pleasant aroma and offers an additional flavour to the food.
4/6. These leaves are easy on the pocket
Banana leaves are easily accessible and are available in plenty. They are an inexpensive and economical option when food has to be served in marriages and rituals where the crowd is huge.
5/6. An eco-friendly Option
1. Utilisation of banana leaves is eco-friendly. They decompose in a shorter duration.
2. Banana leaves fail to require any chemical based dish washing soaps or liquids which would further enter the ground water and in future could harm the water table thus, preventing soil pollution.
3. Used banana leaves can be mixed with natural fertilisers and can be utilised to grow plants.
6/6. Used as Livestock feed
The spent banana leaves/leftover peels can be used as a diet supplement for farm animals. Banana leaves/peels are a nutritious, taste good and are a natural medicine for the livestock. Animals like Cows, Goats, Sheep etc. are known to like the feed mixed with crushed banana leaves/peels. In addition, it has lignin and proteins, which are beneficial for animal health.
Food served on banana leaves encompasses several benefits such as health, nutrition, hygienic, eco-friendly, etc. Hence, next time in case you get a chance to choose, definitely opt for eating food served on banana leaves.