Bananas and Nutrition
Banana, acknowledged as the wise people’s fruit, is packed with an array of nutritional elements. In fact, banana is one of the world’s most staple fruits. Botanically, bananas belong to a plant family of the genus, Musa (Musaceae). A great thing regarding bananas is that they are not only delicious as well as cheap but also available year-round. A banana herb bears fruits in the form of hanging clusters, and these fruits are arranged in tiers, with each tier containing about 5-20 fruits. Depending upon the color, taste, and weight, there are different cultivars of bananas, such as, Nino Banana, whose length is only about three inches; Manzano Banana, which has strawberry-apple flavor and also referred to as Apple Banana; Burro Banana, which has lemony flavor; Plantain banana, with the specialty that it is more starchy when compared to other species of bananas; Red banana, enriched with beta carotene and Vitamin C, and Cavendish banana, which makes an excellent accompaniment for preparing pies, smoothies, custards, and puddings.
When comes to its nutritional elements, a large banana of about eight or nine inches long consists of about 600 mg of potassium, four grams of fiber, and two grams of protein, apart from a range of other essentials including vitamins, Thiamine, Riboflavin, and folic acid. Nutritional elements contained in a banana can be categorized into minerals, calories, and vitamins. Now we will discuss each of them in detail.
Banana’s Mineral Contents and their values per 100 grams
Calcium – 5 mg
- Magnesium - 0.26 mg
- Potassium – 358 mg
- Zinc - 0.15 mg
- Manganese - 0.27 mg
- Iron - 0.26 mg
- Phosphorus – 22 mg
- Sodium – 1 mg
- Copper - 0.078 mg
Banana’s Vitamin Contents and their values per 100 grams
- Vitamin C - 8.7 mg
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - 0.073 mg
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) - 0.334 mg
- Folate – 20 mcg
- Vitamin A – 64 µg
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) - 0.1 µg
- Thiamin (vitamin B-1) - 0.031 mg
- Niacin content (vitamin B-3) - 0.665 mg
- Vitamin B-6 - 0.367 mg
Banana’s Calorie Contents and their values per 100 grams
- Water - 74.91 grams
- Protein - 1.09 grams
- Ash - 0.82 grams
- Dietary Fiber - 2.6 grams
- Fat - 0.33 grams
- Carbohydrate - 22.84 grams
- Sugar - 12.23 grams
Banana’s phyto-nutrient contents and their values per 100 grams
- Beta carotene – 26 mcg
- Alpha carotene – 25 mcg
In short, bananas are a treasure trove all essential nutrients, containing it everything from vitamins, proteins, and minerals to folate and dietary fibers. Apart from these, bananas are complete with three types of natural sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. In deed, intake of bananas offer a continuum of health benefits, which among many others, are:
- Effective to combat anemia – Since it contains high content of iron, eating bananas is a great way to enhance the hemoglobin function of your body.
- Improved Eyesight – According to some relevant studies, a person eating three bananas a day has less chance to develop the ARMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration).
- Healthy Kidney – Certain studies reveal that intake of fresh whole vegetables and fruits, particularly bananas, is a great way to minimize the chances of developing cancer affecting kidneys. It is estimated that a person eating five or seven bananas a week can reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer by 40%. This is due to its rich content of an element, namely, antioxidant phenolic compounds.
- Heartburn – Due to its natural antacid properties that provide soothing relief, intake of bananas is regarded as a remedy for heartburn.
- Ulcers – Bananas hold the distinction of being the only raw fruit that could be consumed even in over-chronicle situations. Further, it contains in it properties to minimize acidity as well as irritation. Bananas have the capability for cell stimulation in order to form a thick mucus, which in turn can safeguard you against acidic. In addition, it consists of an element, namely, protease inhibitors, which enable to reduce bacteria that have been regarded as a prime cause for ulcers.
- Stress Relief – Eating bananas is considered a great way to relieve stress, as they are rich in potassium, which in turn has properties in it to control the heart beat and maintain the water balance of your body.
- Normalize Blood Pressure – Since they are rich in potassium and low in sodium, bananas boasts of an ideal ration in order to prevent high blood pressure. This in turn is beneficial to minimize the chances of stroke.
- Enhanced Nerve Functions – Due to its high content of Vitamin B, intake of bananas aids for enhanced nerve functions.
- Healthy Bones – Bananas have a high content of fructooligosaccharide – an element that aids for the growth of probiotic – a kind of healthy bacteria - in the colon, which in turn produces essential vitamins as well as digestive enzymes that not only helps for the easy absorption of nutrients such as calcium but also safeguard your body against harmful microorganisms.
- Constipation – Since it has a rich source of soluble dietary fiber, it helps for normal bowel functions.
- Reduce depression – A specialty of bananas is that it comes with an element known as tryptophan – a kind of amino acid that can be transformed into serotonin, which in turn has properties to improve your mood.
Listed below are some of the delicious, nutrient-packed banana recipes:
Banana Oat Pancakes
Among the ingredients that form part of this healthy dish are wholegrain oats (40 grams), self raising flour (20 grams), milk (1/2 cup), banana (1), vanilla essence (1/2 tsp), cinnamon powder (1/2 tsp), salt (a pinch), and olive oil (required for frying).
Instructions: First of all, blend oats and self-raising flour in a vitamiser, and then add to it banana, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. The next step is to add milk with this mixture. Take a fry pan and pour olive oil in it to put this mixture in order to fry it until it becomes light brown. To add to taste, serve this with maple syrup and butter.
Banana Basil Smoothie
Ingredients for this dish include ripe bananas that are peeled and chopped (2 nos), basil leaves (10 nos), water (1/4 cup), and raw honey (2 tablespoons).
Instructions: Blend all these ingredients till it becomes smooth as well as liquefied. You can either serve this mixture immediately or chill it via keeping it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Banana Bread Recipe
Banana Bread recipe covers ingredients such as mashed yellow bananas (3 nos), butter (1/4 cup), sugar (1 cup), finely beaten egg (1), vanilla (1 tsp), baking soda (1 tsp), salt (a pinch), and flour (about 2 cups).
Preheat your oven to 175 Celsius (350 F). Take a large bowl and put mashed bananas and melted butter to mix them. Add into this mixture, items such as sugar, beaten egg, vanilla essence, baking soda, and salt. Then, add flour and blend it. The next step is to take a buttered loaf pan and pour in it this mixture in order to bake it for about an hour. Leave it to cool. Once cooled, remove it from the pan and slice and serve.
A variety of historic references prevail on bananas. Bananas have been found mentioned in Chinese, Greek, Roman, and Hindu texts. Even some horticulturists believe that this is the earth’s first fruit.
Bananas are believed to have been originated in South-East Asia, in the dense forests of Malaysia and Philippines. From there, bananas traveled to India during the 6th century BC. It was in 327 BCE, bananas were noticed by the Europeans, when Alexander the Great ate it and experienced its delightful taste. In fact, Alexander the Great is credited with the introduction of bananas to the western countries. However, in China, it was a rare, exotic fruit until the 20th century, as it was seen only in the country’s southern region. Bananas got its present name when the Arabs brought them to Africa. Later, it became popular among the Portuguese when it was first brought to the Canary Islands.
With the introduction of the sophisticated transport system coupled with refrigerated facility, bananas became more popular. Bananas are now one of the world’s most prominent traded fruits.
Mentioned in this section are some interesting facts of bananas.
- The word banana is believed to have been originated from the word ‘Banan’, literally meaning finger.
- Banana plant is regarded as the world’s biggest herb.
- In contrast to other fruits that grow on trees, a banana grows on plants.
- Even though tropical climate is most suitable for growing bananas, it is also grown in Iceland via using geyser to heat the soil.
- A specialty of banana plant is that all of its parts have therapeutic features.