The banana has an interesting history as well as enjoying a reputation as a "perfect food". Even the peel of this delicous tropical fruit has benefits.
Ranked number one in the world as the most popular fruit, bananas have been called a "perfect food" for good reason. Full of essential nutritional elements such as vitamins, minerals and fiber, bananas has been elevated to “super food” status by health professionals for the many benefits contained in this delicious tropical fruit.
The History of Bananas
Around 2000 BCE, the banana began its trek around the world by traveling from Malaysia, where it is thought to have originated, to India by way of travelers. Buddhist texts in India cited bananas as early as 600 BCE.
In 327 BCE, Alexander the Great had his first experience with this unusual fruit and is credited with introducing bananas to the western world. Several hundred years later in 200 CE, historian, Yang Fu, recorded organized cultivation of banana plantations in China.
In 650 CE, Islamic slave traders doing business in Madagascar were responsible for naming the unusual delicacy. Bananas in the ancient world were only about the size of a man’s finger and were called banan, Arabic for finger.
From the 17th century, Portuguese and Spanish sailors would bring bananas to the Caribbean Islands and to America where it would become a staple fruit.
Today bananas are popular all over the world and are grown in most tropical and subtropical regions with the main producers being in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and Ecuador.
Eat More Bananas to Enhance Your Health
With health promoting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, bananas are an essential part of any healthy eating plan.
The banana is well-known for its high potassium content, thus making it a heart healthy food. Potassium is essential for nervous system functioning as well as helping the hardest working muscle in the body-- the heart-- contract properly. In some studies, low potassium levels have been linked to high blood pressure and elevated risks for stroke.
Heralded by dieters, the banana contains no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol making it a wise choice for your waistline. Comprised of mostly naturally occurring sugars and fiber, bananas are a great source of low calorie energy. As an added bonus to those watching their weight as well as diabetics, bananas are naturally high in vitamin B6 which enables the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose and regulates blood sugar levels.
Another powerful vitamin found in bananas is vitamin C which is an antioxidant that builds immunity and helps to repair body tissue.
Bananas can make you feel better mentally as well as physically. Underpublicized is the fact that bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid which is converted by the body into serotonin-- the “feel good” hormone. Normal serotonin levels enhance mood and help people relax. Low serotonin levels are linked to higher incidences of depression and anxiety.
Health Benefits of the Banana Peel
Just like the fruit, the peel of the banana has many health applications. One of the most popular is that of wart removal. Place the inside part of a piece of the banana peel directly on a wart and bandage it in place. Wear it at night and change daily until wart is gone.
As well as a wart remedy, use the inside portion of the banana peel for instant relief from insect bites. The peel reduces itching, redness and swelling.
Any kind of skin condition will most likely respond to a banana peel treatment. People who have tried it on poison ivy, acne and psoriasis have reported success.
Along with that apple a day to keep the doctor away, include a banana and reap the benefits of good health.