How often do you eat fruits?
Do you regularly include fruits in your diet or do you just occasionally eat fruits?
Do you realize that you are endangering your health as well as your life due to your nonchalant attitude towards fruit consumption?
Even though we are blessed with countless types of fruits on this planet, yet some of us barely eat at least one fruit in a day. Out of the overwhelming number of fruits in this world, one fruit that has captured the motivation to pin down this post is banana.
Ok, what about a banana? What do you really know about this common fruit?
How often do you eat the banana?
Did you know that banana is one of the most essential fruits that has innumerable health benefits?
Well, these few pertinent questions have been tendered before you for your candid response.
Fruits are vital components of a healthy diet. This is as a result of their rich constituents of important vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and bioactive compounds. Researchers have proven that low consumption of fruits is one of the contributing factors of poor health condition, the onset of sickness, diseases and increased mortality rate. Tellingly, regular consumption of fruits can inhibit the onset of certain ailments such as gastrointestinal, cancer, diabetes, stroke, eye cataract, cardiovascular diseases, skin conditions, age-related macular degeneration, hypertension.
To facilitate a healthy eating lifestyle, it is highly recommended to include quality quantities of fruits and vegetables in one's diet, as they supply the body with the dietary fibres, minerals (such as potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium), vitamins such as folic acid, ascorbic acid and vitamin A  precursors. One popular fruit that is highly beneficial to the human race is banana.
What is a banana?
Banana is an edible fruit that belongs to the family of Musaceae and the genus Musa. It also belongs to two main species namely: Musa balbisiana Colla and Musa acuminata Colla. The term banana is derived from the Arabic word 'banan', which connotes "finger". Even though banana is originally from Australia and Indomalaya, studies reveal that Papua New Guinea was the first to domesticate it.The banana fruit is enveloped and protected by its peel. Presently, this fruit has spread to approximately 135 countries all over the world. This fruit contains approximately 75% moisture, 23% carbohydrates, 1% protein and 0.5% fat. Banana is an excellent source of vitamins such as B complex (B1, B2 and niacin), dietary fibres, carbohydrates, minerals, phytochemicals and phenolics. The phenolics found in banana fruit are the main bioactive compounds exhibiting antioxidant properties thereby providing numerous health benefits. The dietary fibre present in banana is effective for preventing several diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, constipation and irritable colon.
It is worthy to note that it is not only the banana fruit pulp that offers us medicinal health benefits but equally the other parts of banana, which contain important phytochemicals. The various parts of banana ranging from the fruit, leaves, fruit stalk, root and bract have been utilised for domestic and medicinal purposes.
What are the Health Benefits of Eating Banana?
1. Regulates Bowel Movement
Banana intake helps to regulate the bowel movement. Banana intake helps the colon to absorb large quantities of water, which aid regular bowel movements. This is attributed to its high constituent of pectin, which is water-absorbent. It tackles diarrhoea, dysentery, constipation while significantly improving digestion. This is as a result of its rich non-digestible fibres, including alpha-glucans, hemicellulose and cellulose. Banana is also a rich source of the prebiotic compound known as fructooligosaccharide, which nourishes the friendly bacterium in the colon. These friendly bacteria release digestive enzymes and vitamins that improve an individual's ability to absorb nutrients as well as compounds that protect the colon from unfriendly microorganisms.
2. Anti-ulcerogenic activity
Banana contains a flavonoid known as leucocyanidin, which is effective for increasing the thickness of the mucous membrane layer of the stomach. An aqueous extract of unripe banana pulp contains this leucocyanidin flavonoid, which is believed to exhibit significant anti-ulcerogenic activity. Regular consumption of banana is essential for tackling ulcers due to its ability to neutralize the acidity in the stomach. The fruit does not irritate the stomach walls.
3. Recommended as an Ideal Baby food
Studies reveal that banana consumption is highly recommended for infants. This is due to the high amounts of Selenium, Potassium, Iron, Fiber, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folate, Vitamins A, B2, B6, C and E found in a banana. Banana is also amongst the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast). BRAT is a diet recommended by doctors for people suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting. It is reported that a higher intake of bananas and apple juice from concentrate can protect children from wheezing.
4. Prevention of Anaemia
Banana helps to prevent anaemia by facilitating the production of haemoglobin in the blood. This is attributed to its high iron content, hence the reason why banana is usually recommended for anaemic patients.
5. Prevents Depression
The presence of serotonin in banana helps to minimize the onset of depression by changing one's mood and relaxing the body. Serotonin is also known as the ‘happy hormone’, so if you want to put yourself in a happy mood, eat bananas.
6. Ideal for Diabetic Patients
Banana consumption is ideal for diabetic patients due to its constituent of resistant starch that triggers its hypocholesterolemic action.
7. Lowers the Cholesterol Level
Due to the high fibre found in banana, it is suitable for reducing the cholesterol level.
8. Acts as a Brain Tonic
Due to the rich amount of potassium found in banana, its regular consumption is recommended to keep someone very alert. This suggests why the fruit is often referred to as a brain tonic.
9. Immunity booster
Banana contains 25% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B6. Vit B6 is essential for producing red blood cells and antibodies, aids the metabolism of fat and acts as an immunity booster. As a result, banana offers protection against the onset of infectious diseases.
10. Prevents Colon Cancer
Regular consumption of banana is recommended for relieving constipation, which in turn helps to prevent colon cancer.
11. Hair Treatment
Banana contains a high amount of vitamins thus recommended for preparing hair mask. When a banana hair mask is applied on the hair, it can help to strengthen and volumize the hair. It also helps to repair dry and sun-damaged hair. A banana hair mask can also be used for treating dandruff. It is useful for moisturizing the scalp.
12. Prevents High Blood Pressure
Due to its high potassium content, banana is useful for preventing rising blood pressure.
13. Boosts the Kidney Health
Banana supports the functionality of kidneys. This is as a result of the high potassium present in this fruit. A balanced intake of potassium suppresses the excretion of calcium in the urine thereby minimizing the risk of kidney stones.
14. Relieves muscle cramp
The high potassium content in banana makes it effective for relieving muscle cramp.
15. Slows down the release of glucose
The fruit contains resistant starch, thus exhibits lower digestibility while slowing the release of glucose in the blood.
16. Aids Smoking Cessation
The high amount of vitamin A, B6, B12 and C, in banana makes it suitable for individuals attempting to stop smoking. Besides, the high amount of magnesium and potassium in banana helps the body to recover from nicotine withdrawal.
17. Prevents vitamin A deficiency
The consumption of banana is recommended for preventing vitamin A deficiency due to its rich carotenoid content.
18. Relief from Hangover
Individuals suffering from a hangover can drink a banana milkshake mixed with honey. This offers relief from the hangover.
19. Ideal for pregnant women
Pregnant women suffering from morning sickness are encouraged to eat bananas in between meals. This helps to settle the queasiness in the stomach.
20. Treatment of Bladder Infection
Banana consumption is recommended for tackling bladder infection. For bladder infection, it is recommended to eat at least 3 to 4 bananas on a daily basis.
21. Relief of Heartburn
Banana exhibits an antacid effect thus helps to relieve heartburn.
22. Dermatological Benefits
A ripe banana can be mashed and topically applied on the face as a moisturizer and nourisher of dry and wrinkled skin.
23. Laxative effect
Studies reveal that the banana fruit exhibits a mild laxative effect. Ripe banana fruit can act as a laxative when eaten early in the morning.
24. Energy booster
Banana contains 3 natural sugars namely; sucrose, glucose and fructose. Consuming banana instantly boosts the energy level.
25. Tackles worm infestation in children
Banana fruit can be fed to children to tackle worm problems.
Home Remedies of Banana
1. Wrinkle Treatment
For treating wrinkles, mash 1/4 banana into a smooth paste and cover your face with it. Allow to stay for 15-20 minutes before washing it off with warm water and subsequently with splashes of cold water. Afterwards, pat your face dry. You can also blend bananas and mix with fuller's earth to form a thick paste. Fuller's earth is any clay material that can decolourize oil or other liquids in the absence of harsh chemical treatment. Fuller's earth basically contains bentonite or palygorskite. Scrub your face with the mixture of fuller's earth and banana then allow the paste to dry completely. Afterwards, wash it off with cold water. The fuller’s earth is essential for absorbing any excess sebum on the skin, thereby leaving the skin smooth and wrinkle-free.
2. Tackling of Heartburn
Eat a banana after every meal to prevent the onset of heartburn. This process can also be used to treat acid reflux and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). GERD is a digestive disorder that takes place when the acidic stomach fluids, juices, or food reflux back up from the stomach into the oesophagus. This health disorder affects people of all ages ranging from babies to adults. Asthma patients are at a higher risk of developing GERD.
3. Diarrhoea Treatment
To tackle diarrhoea, blend a small quantity of ripe banana together with a teaspoon of honey. Spread the mixture on a slice of toast bread, then eat the toast. The toast will facilitate the absorption of excess fluids in the gastrointestinal tract while hardening the stools, thereby minimizing the severity of diarrhoea. Alternatively, mash some boil raw bananas, add a pinch of salt and butter, then eat the mixture.
4. Treatment of Nausea
Banana is useful for soothing the stomach hence suitable for tackling nausea and vomiting. Puree one banana and an apple to form a smooth sauce. Slowly ingest one spoon of this mixture until your gastrointestinal system is normalized.
5. Reduction of Menstrual Bleeding
To reduce menstrual bleeding, drink a mixture of boiled banana flower and buttermilk.
6. Dry Skin Treatment
Mix a teaspoon of coconut milk, banana and fuller's earth together then apply on the skin. Wash off the mixture after 20 mins. This fortifies the skin and helps in preventing dry skin.
7. Skin Allergy Treatment
Mash one ripe banana in a cup of milk and stir properly. Then drink the mixture at least 2-3 times on a daily basis to tackle skin allergies.
8. Treatment of Skin Irritations
Tender banana leaves can be used as a poultice for tackling skin irritations.
9. Treatment of Warts
To treat warts, use a banana peel inside out to cover the wart and tap gently. Remove the peel once it turns black then wash the affected area. Continue the process until there is a relief from warts.
10. Treatment of Poison Ivy Rashes
Poison ivy rashes form on the skin when there is close contact with a poison ivy plant. This tends to cause some reddish, itchy rashes with swelling, blisters and bumps. To treat poison ivy rashes, rub a banana peel inside out over the rashes. This tends to soothe the skin, cool the skin and reduce discomfort.
11. Treatment of Bruises
To treat bruises, tape banana peel on the bruised part overnight. Repeat the process severally to speed up the healing process. Always rinse and pat dry the affected area before re-applying another new banana peel as this tends to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.
12. Treatment of Hangover
Mix banana milkshake with honey then drink.
13. Kills tuberculosis bacteria
The extract from a banana stem still attached to the cluster can be consumed for killing tuberculosis bacteria.
14. Prevention of Ulcers
To prevent ulcers, eat three bananas daily. This helps to soothe the stomach wall linings and reduce the ulcer pain.
15. Hiccups Relief
Mix two tablespoons of burnt banana leaves with honey then consume the mixture. This offers relief from hiccups.
16. Tackling Mosquito Bites
Rub banana peel inside out on the affected skin for tackling the effects of mosquito bites.
17. Constipation Treatment
To get relief from constipation, eat a banana at night.
18. Treatment of Stings/Bites
Apply banana sap on the affected body part to treat insects' bites and stings.
19. Prevention of Cramps in Pregnancy
To prevent leg cramps in pregnancy, eat bananas before going to bed.
20. Laxative Benefits
For a mild laxative effect, eat one ripe banana very early in the morning.
Banana Inflorescence

Health Benefits of Other Parts of Banana
1. Banana Root
A cold infusion of the banana root can be used for treating anaemia and venereal diseases. The banana root can also be used for treating digestive disorders.
2. Banana Stem
The core of banana stem is useful for treating diabetes and stomach upset. Banana stem extract can be used for dissolving kidney stones and urinary bladder infection. The inflorescence can be mixed with coconut oil and used for flushing out urinary blocks.
3. Banana Flowers
Banana flowers can be used for treating bronchitis, dysentery and ulcers. Cooked banana flowers are suitable for diabetic patients. The flowers can be infused in normal doses and taken to relieve painful menstruation.
4. Banana peel
Banana peel exhibits both antifungal and antibiotic properties. The peel has been proven effective for treating diabetes, due to its antihyperglycemic effect in several animal trials. The peel can be topically taped to warts with the yellow side on top. This tends to cause the wart to shrink and fall off. Banana peel can be rubbed on a mosquito bite site to stop the stinging sensation, irritation and reduce swelling.
5. Banana sap
Banana sap has astringent qualities. Studies reveal that banana sap can be used as a home remedy for treating fever, diarrhoea, haemorrhage, epilepsy, leprosy, insect bites, hysteria, digestive disorders, haemorrhoids and dysentery.
6. Banana Inflorescence
This can be ground and applied as a poultice for wounds and skin ulcers.
7. Banana Trunk
An aqueous extract from the trunk of a banana can be massaged on the scalp to promote healthy hair growth while preventing hair loss.
Non-Edible Uses of Banana
1. Banana pseudostem can be used for its fibre.
2. Traditionally, banana leaves are used for protection from rainfall.
3. The banana pulp can be used to produce paper, rope, mats etc.
4. Banana leaves are mostly used for wrapping food.
Banana Trees

Unripe Banana

DISCLAIMER This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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