Bananas have a special place in diets low in fats, cholesterol and salt. In the mythological ages in Europe, a banana was called the apple of paradise. In the traditional medicine in India and the ancient Persia this golden fruit is regarded as nature's secret of perpetual youth. To this day, banana is known for promoting healthy digestion and creating a feeling of youthfulness. Banana is one of the oldest and best known fruits of the world. It is delicious and available in all seasons.
Banana is of great nutritional value. It constitutes almost a complete balanced diet in combination with milk. It is a good source of quick energy and an excellent means of recovery from fatigue.
Hypertension and Heart Problem: Potassium salt, like beta blockers, can reduce the risk of hypertension and therefore heart problems. Banana, being a rich source of potassium and low in sodium is beneficial for high blood pressure patients.
Certain compounds in banana behave like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE is responsible for rise in blood pressure. ACE inhibiting property has been found in six varieties of banana.
Obesity: A diet of half banana and skimmed milk during breakfast is considered as an effective remedy for weight reduction.
Intestinal Disorder: Banana is used as a dietary food against intestinal disorders. As chronic ulcer patients need to avoid any acidic fruit it is the only fruit they can consume without distress. It neutralizes the hyperacidity of the gastric juice and reduce the irritation of the ulcer. Ripe banana is highly beneficial in the treatment of ulcerative colitis as it is bland, easily digestible and slightly laxative. It relieves the acute symptoms and promotes the healing process.
Constipation and Diarrhea: Banana helps in both constipation and diarrhea as it balances the colonic functions in the large intestine. It absorbs large amount of water, which helps in proper bowel movement.
Dysentery: Mashed banana with little salt is a valuable remedy for dysentery. According to traditional naturopathy a combination of ripe banana, tamarind and common salt is most effective in this disease.
Anaemia: Being high in iron content, banana is beneficial in the treatment of anaemia. It stimulates the production of haemoglobin in blood.
Allergies: The fruit is very useful for those who are allergic to certain foods and thus suffer from skin rashes, digestive disorder or asthma. Banana contains compounds which in most cases are not allergic. The fruit, however, does cause allergic reactions in certain sensitive individuals and they should avoid it.
Tuberculosis: Bananas are considered useful in the treatment of tuberculosis. The juice of the plantain or the ordinary cooked banana works miracle in the treatment of tuberculosis.
Urinary Disorder: Juice from banana stem is a well known remedy for urinary disorders. It helps to improve kidney and liver functions. It has been found that it is of great help in the treatment for the removal of kidney and gall bladder stones.
Menstrual Disorder: Cooked banana flower eaten with curd is considered an effective medicine for painful menstruation and excessive bleeding. Banana flower increases the concentration of progesterone hormone which reduces the bleeding.
Other uses: Ripe banana is chiefly eaten in a dessert or as a breakfast fruit. Unripe fruits can be cooked. Banana chips made from fully mature unripe banana are tasty and healthy. The flour prepared from the dried unripe banana is three times richer in minerals than the wheat flour. It is also easily digestible than cereal starches and is an ideal food for the infants and patients. Banana is also helpful in arthritis.
Precautions: Banana must be thoroughly ripe otherwise it is difficult to digest. The raw banana contains 20 to 25 per cent starch. But during the process of ripening this starch is fully converted to a sugar which is easily assimilated.
The fruit should not be consumed by those suffering from renal failure because of its high potassium content.