Banana is one of the most widely consumed fruits on the planet. It is planted mainly in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, Asia, America, the Canary Islands and Australia, and its scientific name is Musa acuminata. It grows in clusters, hanging from the top of the plant. It varies in size, colour, and firmness. It is usually long and curved with soft flesh rich in starch, and it is covered with a rind which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. Banana is extremely nutritious, rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamins B6 and B9, tryptophan (a kind of essential amino acid found in the nervous system), norepinephrine (hormone found in the nervous system), choline (a basic compound that is found in various foods such as egg yolks and legumes etc., essential to liver function), riboflavin (a component of vitamin B that helps normal metabolism), niacin (found in vitamin B) and fiber. It is also high in sugar content, serves as snack, and is a rapid energy booster. It is equally high in antioxidant, which provides protection from free radicals (reactive atom in the body, capable of damaging cells, protein and DNA by altering their chemical structure), sunlight and the cream we apply on our skin.
The potassium in banana makes it very good for the heart. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, banana’s high potassium protects the cardiovascular (of, relating to, or affecting the heart and blood vessels) system against high blood pressure. Its high-level content of tryptophan helps you to overcome depression, while the vitamin B6 and magnesium helps you sleep well and relax your muscles.
- Vitamin B6 also protects the body against type 2 diabetes and aids in weight loss.
- Helps in significant weight loss; If you are thinking of losing weight, then include banana in your diet, because it helps to curb food cravings.
- It also sustains blood sugar levels during exercise.
- Moreover, the small but significant amount of vitamin A in banana protects the eyes.
- Helps you to maintain normal vision and improves your vision at night, according to the United States National Institutes of Health.
- Vitamin A contains compounds that preserve the membranes round the eyes.
- It also prevents macular degeneration, an incurable condition which blurs central vision.
- A moderate consumption of banana protects you from having kidney cancer because of its high level of antioxidant phenolic compounds; in 2005, a Swedish study found that women eating 4 to 6 bananas a week halved their risk of developing kidney cancer.
Banana is available all year round, and the riper the banana, the more its nutrients. It can be eaten sliced or mashed. Even the peels are edible and packed with nutrients. However, you should carefully wash it before eating because of the pesticides applied to it when planting it. There are no side effects associated with eating banana in moderation. However, when eaten in excess, it can trigger headache and sleepiness. Also, because it is a sugary fruit, you must maintain a proper dental hygiene so as to avoid tooth decay from its consumption. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults eat two bananas every day.