One of the most consumed fruits in America, the humble banana's nutritional facts will make you want to eat a banana every day. Rich in heart-healthy potassium, if you were stranded on a remote island you would not starve if bananas were all you had to eat.
In 1959, my European Mother-In-Law, Bett had her fourth child...a little girl, Ess...in a remote village in East Java, Indonesia. For some reason, Mama was not producing breast milk and cow's milk...or milk of any kind...was simply not available in those days. With grave fears, she wondered how she was going to feed this newborn child. But the local women came to her rescue with a milk of sorts made from mashed bananas. That was all Ess had for the first few months of her life. She turned out to be the healthiest of all Bett's children.
An average banana (about 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) has 358 mg of potassium which helps control blood pressure and protects against heart disease and stroke.
27 mg magnesium, 22 mg of phosphorus, 5 mg of calcium, half a mg of iron, a small amount of zinc and less than 1 mg of sodium.
Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6 (aka pyridoxine), Vitamin C, riboflavin, magnesium and biotin. They also contain vitamin A, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and folate.
Pectin, a soluble fiber, aids normal bowel function preventing constipation.
A 3.5 ounce serving contains 90 calories, 370 kilojoules and only one third of gram of fat. Bananas are also an excellent source of protein.
The pectin in plaintain bananas is soothing to the gastrointestinal tract and studies show that banana is an anti-ulcer food.
It's the pectin! Pectin collects cholesterol as it sweeps through the digestive tract. And because bananas are a high-fiber food, they are very cleansing.
The high sugar content and enzymes in bananas, draw out toxins, kill bacteria and dry up oozing skin sores.
Bananas contain tryptophan which helps the body produce serotonin a neurotransmitter essential for a peaceful sleep. Bananas also contain the amino acid tyrosine which contributes to the production of dopamine another neurotransmitter that is important to mental health.
Bananas were discovered in Malaysia but may have originated in Papua New Guinea. They are now grown and eaten all over the world. Arabs took bananas to Africa while the Portuguese took them to the Americas.
A member of the same family as lillies and orchids, banana trees are actually a herbaceous plant. While there are hundreds of different edible bananas there are only two different species: sweet bananas...in a variety of colors from yellow to purple...and green bananas known as plantains. These are usually cooked for savoury dishes.
In Asia, every part of the banana plant is used for one thing or another. In addition to using the leaves to steam and to serve food, a variety of natural remedies are made from the leaves, stem and roots. Banana flowers are also edible and used as a vegetable tasting similar to an artichoke.
Some species are an excellent source of fiber for making string, ropes, paper, and textiles. A company in Australia makes cement bags from banana fiber.
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