Banana is a tropical plant that has been consumed by people for generations. There are around 100 different types of bananas known. Musa Acuminata and Musa Balbisiana are the most often utilized banana species. Bananas are not only eaten fresh, but they are also made into alcoholic beverages and processed into starch. It is available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors throughout the world.
By Amir Hussain, H.U. Khan,Muhammad Ismail Bhatti, Zile.Haleefa,Ghulam Abbas
Bananas are not only eaten fresh, but they are also made into alcoholic beverages and processed into starch. It is available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours throughout the world. Suckers create a clump or “stool” around the parent plant, with the eldest sucker replacing the main plant when it fruits and dies, and this succession process continues indefinitely. The tender, smooth, oblong or elliptic, fleshy-stalked leaves are arranged spirally and number 4 or 5 to 15. They unfurl at a rate of one per week in warm weather, extending upward and outward to become as much as 9 ft (2.75 m) long and 2 ft (60 cm) wide. They can be completely green, green with maroon splotches, or green on top with crimson purple underneath. The inflorescence, which is a modified growth point, is a terminal spike that emerges from the stem’s heart at the tip. It appears to be a huge, long-oval, tapering, purple-clad blossom at first. The slender, nectar-rich, tubular, toothed, white flowers are clustered in whorled double rows along the flowering stalk as it opens, each cluster covered by a thick, waxy, hood-like bract, purple on the exterior, deep-red on the inside. In most cases, the bract from the initial hand will lift in 3 to 10 days. If the plant is weak, opening may take 10 to 15 days. Female flowers are found in the lower 5 to 15 rows, with some rows of hermaphrodite or neuter flowers above them; male flowers are found in the upper rows. The inflorescence may remain upright in certain varieties, although it usually bends downward shortly after opening. The male flowers and their bracts are lost about one day after the flower clusters open, leaving most of the upper stalk naked except at the very tip, where there is generally an unopened bud containing the last-formed of the male flowers. Some mutants, like ‘Dwarf Cavendish,’ have prolonged male flowers and bracts that wither and stay, filling the gap between the fruits and the terminal bud. As the young fruits develop from the female flowers, they look like slender green fingers. The bracts are soon shed and the fully grown fruits in each cluster become a “hand” of bananas, and the stalk droops with the weight until the bunch is upside down. The number of “hands” varies with the species and variety.
Banana Cultivated Worldwide:
The history of banana is complicated; however, it has been discovered that banana was first cultivated in New Guinea. Banana cultivation and growth were then spread to the Philippines and other tropics and subtropical areas. However, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, bananas were first domesticated in Southeast Asia, and their consumption is mentioned in early Greek, Latin, and Arab writings. Banana plants were later introduced to Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.
After coffee, cereals, sugar, and cocoa, banana is the fifth most important crop in global export trade. It is typically grown in the world’s tropical and subtropical regions. India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil, Nigeria, Costa Rica, the East African highlands, and Australia are among the major cultivating countries.
Banana was more than just a valuable fruit
The banana was used as a valuable intercropping plant. The banana plant provided the ideal shade for valuable commodities such as cacao, coffee, and pepper plantations. So the banana was not only a valuable fruit, but its leaves also had other applications. Its popularity was boosted by the fact that it is a low-labor crop. Because of its high energy content and easy digestibility, it was also used to feed slaves who worked on plantations.
Banana leaf and banana fiber were more desirable as foodstuffs in ancient times than banana fruit.Banana leaves were once employed as a source of shelter, and as a result, they grew in favor.
- Nutritional values:
Bananas are a low-cost fruit with a variety of health benefits. It is a remarkable fruit that protects the gut and improves digestive health, offers quick energy for a power-packed athletic performance, protects the heart and lowers high cholesterol levels, contains a wide range of antioxidants and polyphenols that stimulate the immune system, and so on.
The banana is a super fruit that is high in nutrients. Banana has been shown to be a good source .
- Vitamin A
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
- Vitamin C
Vitamin K was found in abundance in unripe bananas. Aside from that, numerous studies claim that bananas are rich in a range of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. As a result, eating a banana every day is a simple method to get a variety of nutrients into your diet.
Bananas are popular due to their high carbohydrate content. Carbohydrate is the primary source of energy for our bodies and brains to function properly. The banana is a starchy fruit with rapidly digestible starch. Within 20 minutes, rapidly digestible starch is digested and broken down to glucose. As a result, it provides the body with quick energy. As a result, bananas are a fantastic source of instant energy.
Bananas are also a source of indigestible carbohydrates, according to scientific studies. When you eat a carbohydrate-containing food, it is broken down into glucose in your gastrointestinal tract. In the particular instance of indigestible carbohydrates, starch bypasses digestion in the small intestine and enters the large intestine, where it works to improve the digestive system’s overall health.
The carbohydrate content of the fruit increases as it matures or ripens. Furthermore, as the fruit matures, the starch content falls but the amount of soluble sugar grows, implying that starch is transformed to soluble sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Maltose and rhamnose are two more sugars that are present in trace amounts.
- Polyphenols are bioactive chemicals with a variety of health advantages. Polyphenols are plentiful in both banana peel and banana pulp. The following polyphenols can be found in raw banana pulp:
- Gallic acid
- prodelphinidin dimer
- Cholorogenic acid
Polyphenols have gained a lot of attention in the last decade, and it has been discovered that foods high in polyphenols are very beneficial to overall human health. Furthermore, polyphenols have been shown to prevent a variety of diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.
A study compared the total phenolic content of various bananas and found that green banana had the greatest phenolic content followed by yellow banana followed by other varieties of banana such as RASTALI and KARPOORAVALLI banana (famous in South India).
- The aetiology of various chronic diseases is linked to oxidative stress and oxidative damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA. Several studies have been conducted to investigate the antioxidant properties of banana. Banana has also been shown to have a high capacity for free radical scavenging. As a result, it scavenges harmful radicals and protects the body from oxidative damage. Bananas contain the following antioxidants:
- Ascorbic acid
- Phenolic groups
As a result, the presence of so many antioxidants in banana makes it a natural antioxidant storage.
The list of minerals and health-promoting chemicals found in bananas is far from complete. Bananas are a fantastic source of carotenoids, which are pro-vitamins. These carotenoids are critical in the treatment of vitamin A deficiency. Other benefits of diets high in carotenoids have been discovered in studies, including protection against cardiovascular disease, cancer, cataracts, and diabetes mellitus. As a result, bananas may aid in the correction of vitamin A status and the prevention of vitamin A insufficiency.
Food Value per 100 g of Edible Portion:
*Derived from various analyses made in Cuba, Central America and Africa.
- Therapeutic Benefits of Banana:
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
The banana is one such fruit that is extremely beneficial to people who suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. Banana has a very high angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory action, according to scientific study. Angiotensin converting enzyme is an enzyme that causes blood vessels to contract, raising blood pressure. In other words, banana inhibits the activity of this enzyme, preventing blood pressure from rising.
Cold stress, or the body’s reaction to cold temperatures, can cause blood pressure to rise. Banana has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure, which is associated with cold stress. Banana acts as a bronchial dilator, relaxing and widening the blood vessels’ walls. This ensures that blood circulates freely throughout the body. Furthermore, banana has been demonstrated to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure while at rest.
Energy Source for Endurance Exercises
Because of its high carbohydrate and potassium content, bananas have been determined to be the finest source of energy for endurance athletes. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy, thus it’s critical to have a carbohydrate-rich meal before exercising or working out to ensure that the body has constant energy. Furthermore, potassium is necessary for optimal muscle function and helps to prevent muscle cramps, weakness, and wearinessFurthermore, strenuous exercise causes inflammation and oxidative stress. It has been discovered that bananas have the same antioxidant capacity as kiwi fruit or orange juice. Because bananas contain all of the essential nutrients needed for an impactful and power-packed exercise performance, they are the most important and cost-effective fruit for athletes.
In a 2012 study, the effects of eating a banana versus drinking a carbohydrate drink on post-exercise inflammation, oxidative stress, and immunological function were examined. Both groups experienced equal favorable outcomes, and the carbohydrate drink can be simply replaced with a more cost-effective banana.
It has been discovered that unripe plantain bananas may protect against ASPIRIN-induced ulceration. Banana also encourages the formation of gastric mucosa, or the thickening of the stomach’s inner lining, which aids faster recovery. Only unripe bananas have this anti-ulcerogenic compound. Furthermore, it was discovered that eating bananas increased the stomach lining’s resilience against ulcers and erosions. Another study found that the flavonoid ‘LEUCOCYANIDIN’ helped to prevent ulcers and promote rapid healing.
Anemia is a condition that affects a lot of women. Hemoglobin levels that are too low can be life-threatening. As a result, it is critical to correct these levels as quickly as possible. The influence of bananas on haemoglobin levels was investigated in a fascinating study. After eating a banana, haemoglobin levels, packed cell volume (PCV), red blood cell count (RBC), and platelet counts all increased. As a result, it can be used to treat anaemia and boost haemoglobin levels.
High Cholesterol Levels
Bananas have been shown to decrease cholesterol in several studies. A fascinating study discovered that freeze-dried banana pulp had a higher cholesterol-lowering potential than banana pulp dried in a hot-air current. Browning of bananas caused by hot-air drying may result in the loss of nutrients found in bananas that help lower cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the presence of both soluble and insoluble fibre in bananas was found to be responsible for its cholesterol-lowering effect.
Unripe bananas contain flavonoids, which have a cholesterol-lowering impact. Cholesterol, free fatty acids, triglycerides, and phospholipids were found to be lower in the blood, kidney, liver, and brain. Bile acid excretion increased as well. As a result, people with elevated cholesterol levels should include bananas in their daily diet.
Cardiovascular Diseases or Heart Diseases
Primary structure is triggered by lipid peroxidation and oxidation of LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) (formation and accumulation of fatty lipid mass in the arterial walls, further leading to heart diseases). Banana consumption was proven to lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as its sensitivity to oxidation Bananas contain the polyphenol ‘Quercetin,’ which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to improve endothelial function, which means that it reduces damage to the inner lining of blood vessels. Individuals with heart disease should include bananas in their daily diet because they are heart-protective.
The onset of cancer is aided by oxidative stress and an increased burden of free radicals. It is critical to consume antioxidant-rich foods in order to reduce the risk of cancer. Free radicals are scavenged by antioxidants, which keeps oxidative stress at bay. Banana has been found to have anti-cancer benefits, which are related to its high antioxidant potential. Bananas are high in antioxidants, which help to fight damaging free radicals. It has also been found to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. As a result, bananas help to prevent cancer from spreading to other places of the body.
Aside from that, bananas are a terrific source of energy and other essential nutrients, which cancer patients may require due to their body’s negative energy balance. Bananas are an excellent fruit for cancer patients due to their high vitamin content.
Banana is known for its anti-diarrheal properties in both children and adults. Children with dysentery who were treated with pectin or green banana had fewer episodes of diarrhoea and watery stools than children who were not treated with banana, according to a study. In these children banana had significantly reduced amount of stool as well as number of vomiting and diarrhea duration. Green banana has also shown to escape digestion in small intestine. Thus, it improves the overall digestive health. Children with severe diarrhea can be successfully treated at home with banana.
Ripe bananas are well-known for providing energy, a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and easily digestible carbs and sugars. Bananas are ideal for babies because of their composition. In addition, bananas aid in the treatment of diarrhoea, which is a common ailment among children. A mashed banana is an excellent approach to replenish your baby’s energy.
Insomnia, or a lack of sleep at night, is a relatively prevalent problem that can lead to a variety of diseases and disorders. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in bananas. The amino acid tryptophan is utilised to make serotonin and melatonin. Two neurotransmitters that influence your sleep cycle are serotonin and melatonin. As a result, foods high in tryptophan make you sleepy. As a result, those suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders can eat a banana before going to bed.
Banana has been demonstrated to be helpful in the treatment of kidney stones. Banana plant extract contains potassium, nitrate, and magnesium, which has been demonstrated to lessen the size of kidney stones. Magnesium also acts as a protective agent by preventing the production of kidney stones.