Banana ‘kela’, thought not a native Indian fruit, is the second most grown fruit, has become an integral part of Indian milieu due to the potential health benefits it offers.
Native of Southeast Asia, South Pacific and Western Africa, banana was introduced to the world around 3300 year back by Alexandra the Great, who first tasted it in India. India, incidentally, is the biggest producer/consumer of Banana in the world.
India not only is the biggest consumer of banana fruit, the Banana tree and The leaves, due to its various reasons – sacred and scientific, have become an integral part of Indian cooking and also sacred religious ceremonies.
Nutritional facts of Banana
Bananas are a rich source of fibre, antioxidants, and numerous nutrients. It contains little quantity of proteins and almost no fat.
A medium-sized banana contains 105 calories, 1.3 gm of proteins, 3.1 gm of fiber, 27 gm of carbohydrates, 19 gm of sugars, 422 mg of potassium, 31.9 mg of magnesium, 26 mg of phosphorus, 1.9 mcg of selenium, 11.6 mg of choline, 23.6 mcg of folate, 10.3 mcg of vitamin C, 29.5 mcg of alpha-carotene, and 30.7 mcg of Carotene-ß.
Potential Health Benefits of Banana ‘Kela’
1/5. Improves digestive health
1. The high fibre content present in banana helps in smooth bowel movements thus, promoting digestive health. Fibre provides relief from constipation and is also helpful in treating numerous intestinal complaints.
2. Bananas are a good source of prebiotic, which acts as food for good gut bacteria and improves digestion.
3. The fructooligosaccharides content of banana leads to enhanced gastrointestinal health.
2/5. Promotes heart health
1. Being rich in potassium, bananas help deliver oxygen to the brain thus, maintaining decreased blood pressure, and regular heartbeat.
2. The magnesium content of banana is essential for heart health.
3. The fiber content of banana regulates excess cholesterol from arteries and reduces the stress on the cardiovascular system.
4. Banana contains phytosterols, these are compounds which possess LDL cholesterol-reducing properties.
5. Banana prevents strokes, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks.
3/5. Prevents cancer
1. Lectin, a protein found in bananas, may aid restrict the growth of leukaemia cells.
2. Lectin is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants eliminate the free radicals and prevent their built-up thus, preventing cancers.
3. The high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds in banana help it to prevent kidney cancer.
4/5. Supports bone health
1. Calcium is known to promote bone health. Banana is associated with enhancing the calcium absorption with the help of prebiotic fructooligosaccharides that are present in banana. Fructooligosaccharides ferment in the digestive tract thus, accelerating the body’s capability to absorb calcium.
2. Fructooligosaccharides are present in abundance in banana. They stimulate the digestive-friendly probiotics.
5/5. Other possible Benefits…
Banana produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as cures skin diseases, useful in a hangover, whitens teeth, aids weight loss, improves insulin sensitivity, improves kidney health,normalises blood sugar levels, treats piles, provides energy, cures skin problems, lowers stress.
Also helps reduce menstrual pains, fight morning sickness, relieve itch, soothe ulcers, treat warts,lower feelings of anxiety and stress, induce better sleep, regularise bowel movement, support healthy eyes and vision, detoxify the body and help fight anaemia.
Not just the fruits, its leaves and the plant are part of day to day Indian living. Eating warm food on banana leaf is supposed to activate the anti oxidant properties – polyphenols of the leaves.
How to incorporate banana in the diet?
Banana is usually consumed directly. They are consumed in the unripe, ripe, and overripe forms. Unripe bananas can be consumed by cooking. boiling, steaming, or frying while, ripe bananas are consumed raw. Banana is utilised in several dishes. Banana can be incorporated in our diet in several ways, some of which are as follows…
- Added in smoothie.
- Used to prepare chips.
- Consumed directly as a snack.
- Used in the preparation of porridge.
- Sliced banana added to cereal or oatmeal.
- Dried bananas are grounded to make banana flour.
- Ripe bananas used in making shakes, juice, and fruit salads.
- Used of mashed ripe bananas in baked goods such as cakes, muffins, and cookies.
How to prepare Banana-Cocoa Soy Smoothie?
Take 1 banana, slice it and freeze it until firm.
Taken ½ cup silken tofu, ½ cup soy milk, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tablespoon honey. Blend all of them in a blender until smooth.
Add the slice of banana through the outlet in the lid, while the motor is running and continue to blend it until the mixtures smoothen.