An instant energy booster, banana is one fruit that is commonly available across the globe. In India, it is given much importance where various regional cuisines use it in making sinful desserts – kheer, malpua, halwa, payasam, sheera, and paniyaram, to name a few. The raw fruit too is not left behind. Cut into smaller chunks or thinly sliced using a mandolin, it gets used up in making wafers, subzis, kebabs, pakoras, and the famous curries of Kerala such as Avial and Kalan. If you travel towards the East and the Northeast, you will come across it in the local breakfast cereal, known as jolpan in Assam, which usually contains puffed or sticky rice mixed with curd and jaggery, and topped with banana pieces.
It is a common feature in breakfast menus, and it is definitely with good reason. It provides you instant energy to kickstart your day, and is said to be very good for the stomach. Most natural home remedies in India circling around an upset stomach, call for using bananas as a remedy along with a few other ingredients. A single piece of banana is said to contain only 90 calories, which also makes it a great (and healthy) snack to munch on rather than sugar loaded goodies or deep-fried treats. Carry one in your tiffin bag, and you will be thanking your stars whenever a sudden hunger pang grips you.
Benefits of Banana
A look into the nutritional breakdown of bananas and it reveals the following: per 100 grams, it contains 0.3 gm total fat, zero cholesterol, 1 mg salt, about 360 mg potassium, 2.6 gm dietary fiber, 12 gm sugar and 1.1 gm protein. If you still need reasons as to why you must include bananas in your diet, here are some –
1. High Fiber Content
Banana is loaded with fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber has the tendency to slow down digestion and keep you feeling full for a longer time. Which is why bananas are often included in a breakfast meal so that you can start about your day without having to worry about the next meal.
2. Heart Health
High fiber foods are said to be good for the heart. According to a study done by University of Leeds in UK, increasing consumption of fiber-rich foods such as bananas can lower risk of both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD).
3. Ease in Digestion
According to Ayurveda, banana has a sweet and sour taste. The sweet taste is said to bring about a sense of heaviness but the sour taste is known to stimulate agni (the digestive juices), thereby supporting digestion and helping in building up metabolism.
4. Powerhouse of Nutrients
Banana is a heavyweight when it comes to nutrition. It is loaded with essential vitaminsand minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of the body and keeping you healthy.
5. High Source of Potassium
The high content of potassium in bananas makes it a super fruit. This mineral is known for its numerous health benefiting properties – it helps in regulating heartbeat, blood pressure, and keeps the brain alert.
6. Blood Pressure
It is a known fact that salt is the evil when it comes to high blood pressure. Bananas have low salt content and high potassium content, and these properties contribute to making it ideal for those undergoing this condition.
7. Helps Fight Anaemia
Due to the high iron content in bananas, they are good for those suffering from anaemia. Anaemia is a condition where there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood. This leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, and paleness.
Cooking with Bananas
There are a number exciting ways in which you can add bananas into your diet. Some points to remember while buying them are –
* If you are buying by the dozen, make sure you pick slightly firm bananas so that they last you at least 4-5 days without spoiling.
*Bananas tend to ripe really quickly, which is why after a while the peels turn back while the flesh become gooey. A smart thing to do would be to buy in smaller quantities and enjoy them fresh.
*Look for fruits without any blemishes or squishy spots.
*Do not store them in the refrigerator.
Here are some recipes to help you get started –
Bananas wrapped in dessicated coconut and baked perfectly. It is a hassle free and delicious dessert.
For the recipe, clickhere.
A wholesome jowar cake made with banana, and slathered with decadent salted caramel sauce for a sinful treat. You could also use chocolate sauce and throw in some nuts if you like.
For the recipe, click here.