THE banana tree is the ideal to look up to when it comes to a ‘no wastage’ policy! Almost all parts of the banana tree can be used. The most obvious is the fruit bananas that we eat almost daily. But, other parts of the tree also offer many health benefits! These flowers are pretty, but you should not dismiss them as merely decorative elements.
Every part of the banana tree can be used in one way or the other. The flowers, fruit and stem can be eaten, the leaves can be used as plates and the bark can be used to make paper.
Known as banana hearts, banana flowers are loaded with fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and Vitamin E. These pretty flowers can be eaten raw or cooked, added to salads, soups, stir-fries and herbal teas. Also called banana blossom, the flowers have a host of health benefits.
Some of the known health benefits of these banana flowers are; warding off infections since the flowers inhibit the growth of disease causing bacteria like the Escherichia coli, they are effective in treating and warding off infections as well as helping in healing of the wounds.
These flowers are also rich in vitamin C and compounds like tannins and flavonoids, which are all known to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important for the body’s health because they reduce stress on cells throughout the body and can help to slow down the aging process.
Fortunately, the extracts of methanol present in banana flower possess antioxidant properties. These flowers perfectly handle free radicals that cause damages to the body and treat many health issues, such as premature aging and cancer. Many women suffer from irregular periods that are too light or heavy.
A common cause of this problem is low progesterone levels. Banana flowers can help as they can boost the body’s progesterone levels and regulate a woman’s hormones so that the menstrual cycle is more regular.
Eating a cup of cooked banana flowers with yoghurt can increase progesterone levels in the body and prevent excessive menstrual bleeding. People who have diabetes can really struggle from day to day to keep their blood sugar from getting too high or too low.
But due to the fact that banana flowers are so high in fiber, they help the body to break down food more slowly and prevent any spikes in the blood sugar that can lead to long-term diabetic complications like kidney disease or nerve damage.
The body also needs iron in order to do this and that is where banana flowers come in: they are rich in iron and that is what the body needs to build up red blood cells in the first place. This can help to, along with a generally iron-rich diet, help treat anaemia naturally and build up the body’s energy levels.
Calculated intake of banana flowers reduces blood sugar levels, as well as increasing the total haemoglobin levels in the body so they can be used to manage diabetes and anemia. To boost the healthy uterus, the banana flowers should be added with turmeric powder, peppercorns and cumin seeds.
The banana flowers should be boiled with minor peppercorns and cumin seeds; ¼ tsp. of turmeric powder and salt till it is half. The uterus problems are eliminated by drinking these decorations.
Don’t reach for an antidepressant, if you are feeling down and out! Try banana flowers instead! Since they contain magnesium, banana flowers reduce anxiety and boost the mood.
They are natural anti depressants without any side effects. All you need to do is to include banana flowers in your diet. This can help in lifting your mood. New mothers face many problems when it comes to breast feeding. One of the major problems that they face is dwindling milk supply.
Banana flowers boost the supply of milk that helps the new mothers feed their young better. For people suffering from poor digestion, problems with heartburn, upset stomach, or constipation, banana flowers are a good dietary choice to help correct this.
This is because they have both soluble fiber (which speeds up digestion and makes the process more efficient) and insoluble fiber (which bulks up your stools and reduces the risk of constipation). Together, these two types of fiber can help treat many digestive problems.
The flowers are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. A soluble fiber allows the food to pass easily through the digestive tract, as it dissolves in water and forms a gel. Insoluble fiber assist the bulk to undigested products as it is not dissolved in water.
Both of it boost the healthy digestion and absorption of food. In selecting the banana flowers, select the ones that are fresh and firm. See that there are no cuts or blemishes on the flower. They should be smooth and bright in appearance. The overlapping of outer leaves should be tight.
Remember to use fresh banana flowers, wrap it in transparent plastic, cover in zip lock bags and store it in the refrigerator. Note that when banana flowers are combined with other food, you can reap all the wonderful health benefits they have to offer. So try including banana flowers in your diet.
The health benefits they offer will make this change more than worth the effort
● The Author, Racheal Masibo, is an Assistant Lecturer at St John’s University of Tanzania (SJUT)-School of Nursing, P.O BOX 47 Dodoma Tanzania. Email: email@example.com Mobile: 0717513598