Banana : Pharmacognosy & Medicinal Uses

By: Pharma Tips | Views: 8764 | Date: 01-Oct-2013

Today, bananas are both a major staple in the global tropical zone as well as an important cash crop and significant fruit varietal available for American and European consumption. They are the fourth most important crop worldwide for developing countries, where they provide an important starch source, especially in Africa and Asia. For instance, in Africa, as much as 400kg of plantain are consumed per year as a main source of calories. Bananas are produced mainly in tropical and sub-tropical areas of Af

Banana: History, Pharmacognosy, Cultivation, Nuritional Value, Medicinal Uses, Health Benefits


Scientific name: Musa x paradissiaca L.
Botanical family Musaceae


Benefits of Banana - Health Benefits of Eating Bananas


The banana is a hardy grass up to 10 meters high. Strong and well-developed leaves, petioles envainadores that make the false aerial stem, limbo of 1-2 m long and 35-60 cm wide, tearing into strips perpendicular to the central axis.

The medicinal part is the banana fruit.

It is cultivated in all tropical countries of the world.
It is originally from India.




Bananas are elliptically shaped fruits "prepackaged" by Nature, featuring a firm, creamy flesh gift-wrapped inside a thick inedible peel. The banana plant grows 10 to 26 feet in height and belongs to the family Musaceae. Banana fruits grow in clusters of 50 to 150, with individual fruits grouped in bunches, known as "hands," of 10 to 25 bananas.

Bananas abound in hundreds of edible varieties that fall under two distinct species: the sweet banana (Musa sapienta, Musa nana) and the plantain banana (Musa paradisiacal). Sweet bananas vary in size and color.

While we are accustomed to thinking of sweet bananas as having yellow skins, they can also feature red, pink, purple and black tones when ripe. Their flavor and texture range with some varieties being sweet while others have starchier characteristics. In the United States, the most familiar varieties are Big Michael, Martinique and Cavendish. Plantain bananas are usually cooked and considered more like a vegetable due to their starchier qualities; they have a higher beta-carotene concentration than most sweet bananas.




History of Banana

Today, bananas are both a major staple in the global tropical zone as well as an important cash crop and significant fruit varietal available for American and European consumption.  They are the fourth most important crop worldwide for developing countries, where they provide an important starch source, especially in Africa and Asia.  For instance, in Africa, as much as 400kg of plantain are consumed per year as a main source of calories.  Bananas are produced mainly in tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa, Asia, and America, as well as the Canary Islands and Australia.  The fruit is non-seasonal, and thus available year round, where it provides key foodstuffs between seasonal harvests of other staple crops. 

 Bananas are thought to have originated in Malaysia around 4,000 years ago. From there, they spread throughout the Philippines and India, where in 327 B.C. Alexander the Great's army recorded them being grown.


Bananas were introduced to Africa by Arabian traders and discovered there in 1482 A.D. by Portuguese explorers who took them to the Americas, the place where the majority of bananas are now produced.


Bananas were not brought to the United States for sale in markets until the latter part of the 19th century and were initially only enjoyed by people in the seacoast towns where the banana schooners docked; because of the fruit's fragility, they were unable to be transported far.


Since the development of refrigeration and rapid transport in the 20th century, bananas have become widely available. Today, bananas grow in most tropical and subtropical regions with the main commercial producers including Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil.

    The vast majority of bananas grown today are for consumption by the farmers or the local community, with only 15% of the global production of the fruit grown for export.  India is the leading producer of bananas worldwide, accounting for 23% of the total banana production, though most of the Indian plantains are for domestic use.  Bananas are of significant economic importance elsewhere, such as the French Caribbean and Central America.  In the French Caribbean (Guadeloupe and Martinique), banana farming represents a huge industry, where about 260,000 plantains are produced each year.  Ecuador, Costa Rica, the Philippine Islands, and Colombia account for two-thirds of the exported banana crops.  Of the bananas grown for export, almost all are desert bananas grown for markets in the United States and Europe, of which the “Cavendish” banana varietal is of supreme importance.  In general, the United States consumes fruits from Central and South America, whereas consumers in the European Union receive most of their plantains from the Caribbean.  Exported bananas are often picked in an unripened state, which makes for much easier transport to their countries of destination as “green” bananas are more resistant to spoilage and bruising than ripened fruits.  Upon the end of their journey, the immature fruit are placed in special rooms filled with ethylene gas, which ripens the fruit to maturity.  
    The banana’s development into a major worldwide trade commodity has its roots in the nineteenth century.  Individual merchants shipped plantains from the Caribbean to American and European markets in the early 1800s.  The local market proved to be the center of commerce for the early banana trade; bananas were produced on small farms by indigenous persons.  Those bananas not immediately consumed by the farmers were sold in local markets to other members of the community.  Visiting merchants thus first gained access to bananas through these local marketplaces, and ship small bunches to overseas markets, and the banana’s journey of global production, trade, and consumption had begun.  In 1804, plantains reached New York, and sold as novelty fruit to curious consumers.  Yet, despite its entrance into the global market, the banana was not to become a major factor in commerce for another few decades.
    Technological and shipping limitations affected the banana’s ascendance in world trade.  For one, the technique of harvesting unripened bananas had not yet been invented, nor had the technology of refrigeration.  Instead, farmers harvested plantains ripe, thus making it susceptible to bruising and spoilage on journeys, especially those of long distance.  Navigating roads to the market exposed the banana to jolts and jostlings that could bruise and batter the fruit.  Transporting the banana overseas proved to be even more of a challenge, as the weather rendered clippers, and other sailing ships, and by extension their fruit cargo, vulnerable to squalls and storms that could destroy the fragile plantains.  Yet, as hostile as the shipping environments were to the banana’s accessibility in foreign markets, other elements were also at play.  


Underdeveloped mass markets were perhaps the greatest factor limiting the banana’s ascendancy to a world commodity.  Bananas reached Europe and America, but in small numbers and at specific ports.  The banana trade in the United States, for instance, was limited to port cities of the Northeast in the early nineteenth century.  From 1800 to 1830, red bananas of Cuban origin were sold in the port cities of New York and Boston, but never with any regularity.  Thus, in the early 1800s, despite its presence in the overseas marketplaces of the West, the banana never reached a wide saturation point in the diets of Europeans and Americans.  Yet, the plantain trade from a local to global commodity was already tenuously in place, with the actual movement of bananas, in however small amounts and in however limited port markets, from South America and the Caribbean into North American and European marketplaces.
By the mid-nineteenth century, the elements that limited the banana’s exposure in the overseas markets of Europe and the United States were in the first stages of decline.  The various elements keeping the banana from exploding on the world market were beginning to be worn away by various discrete changes in factors limiting the fruit’s trade.  In the 1820s and 1830s, British botanists in the United Kingdom’s overseas colonies became fascinated with the banana plant and fruit.  Englishman Charles Telfair, enamored with the bananas he encountered on his journeys around the Indian Ocean and China, began a collection of plantain plants on the island Mauritius.  In 1829, he shipped a couple of banana plants to an acquaintance in England, where they eventually passed into the hands of the 7th Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, upon his acquaintance’s passing.  Cavendish was able to cultivate the plants, and the Cavendish banana was formally recognized as a cultivar in 1836.  From England, the cultivar was subsequently diffused back into the tropical zones, including, with the help of such missionaries as John Williams, introductions into previously unknown environments, such as islands of the South Pacific.  In 1855, the Cavendish banana spread from Tahiti into Hawaii, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.
Simultaneous with the spread of the Cavendish varietal across the Indian and Pacific Oceans, small-scale banana exports from Cuba continued to make their way into the North Atlantic ports of the United States.  The imports into the U.S. continued to gradually increase over the next few decades, especially with the end of the American Civil War, but remained an exotic fruit in American cuisine well into the 1870s.  Within the next forty years, the overseas banana market would explode.  In 1871, banana exports into the United States were valued at around $250,000.  By the first year of the twentieth century, the banana trade had exponentially ballooned to $6,400,000.  Ten years later, it had effectively doubled again.  Various factors in American culture, society, and economies helped to drive the demand for the banana.
One factor driving banana demand in the late 1800s and early 1900s in America was its price.  Though details are sketchy, the banana may have been lower in price at the marketplace than the ever-popular apple, and this competitive advantage, coupled with its significant caloric content, much greater than most other fruits, made it an attractive, cost-effective food for Americans of every social class.  Indeed, a 1913 proposal to reinstate an import duty on bananas that had been earlier abolished met with fierce resistance from consumers.  The collective consumer action was a testament to the bananas growing popularity, and officials shelved the proposed duty in the face of such widespread consumer protest.  Thus, the relative cheapness of the banana, coupled with other factors, helped to drive the demand for the starchy fruit.
Another element in the banana’s rising demand lay in the overall status of fruits in the national economy.  By the end of the nineteenth century, larger and larger quantities of fruits, from the old standbys of strawberries, peaches, melons, and of course apples, to the newer bananas and citrus fruits, appeared in American marketplaces.  In turn, fruits began to be seen as an increasingly important to a healthy diet.  Bananas flourished in the fruit-positive culture, and were cited in various cookbooks, pamphlets, and popular literature as a healthy food.  For instance, ripe bananas became associated with gastrointestinal health, and various experts noted their importance to human digestion.  
The banana’s popularity also sprang from its unique physique.  Concern for public health lay at the heart of American society in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, so much so that public policy reflected a new awareness of pathogens with the rise of the germ theory.  In an era when growing awareness of disease, especially bacteria and viruses, and disease transmission, dominated public health discourse, bananas offered the perfect food.  The banana peel, with its ensured sterility, offered consumers a food that was both germ-free as well as nutritious.  
Thus, factors leading to a rise in the demand for bananas during the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century included its safety from contamination, along with its relatively low price, its relatively high caloric content, and its overall status as a healthy food.  For these reasons, bananas also enjoyed a rise in Europe, though not at the same scale as the American plantain mania.  Regardless of their relative scale, the foreign demand for banana consumption in led to a dramatic increase in banana production in tropical countries of the New World.
By the mid-1880s, at the same time United States officials removed import duties from the fruit, banana production expanded from Cuba and other islands in the Caribbean into Central America, including Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and into such South American countries as Colombia.  By the 1890s, bananas were flooding into the American trade hubs in New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.  Small-scale and independent shipping of the fruit gradually consolidated into huge shipping and production conglomerates, culminating in the formation of the United Fruit Company (UFC) in 1899.
The increasing demand for bananas, and the lucrative banana trade, as exemplified by the UFC, had massive effects on the production of plantains on Caribbean, Central American, and South American farms.  Small-scale cultivation gradually gave way to more intense production to maximize yield and minimize loss.  Banana traders increasingly influenced the development of harvesting practices that both limited varietals to breeds deemed desirable for European and American markets as well as those timed to produce during the peak seasons of banana consumption, March through June.  Gradually, one breed of bananas began to stand out as a particularly profitable fruit, the Gros Michel or “Big Mike.”  
The Big Mike banana offered a major advantage to most other plantains: its thick, resilient peel.  The resilience of Big Mike offered the sweet fruit of the desert banana preferred by Westerners with better armor.  The Gros Michel was the perfect candidate for plantation monocultures, and rapidly supplanted most other bananas grown for American and European consumption.  
As consumption, production, and trade grew, so did a demand for better shipping technologies that could meet the requirements of the foreign markets.  That is, banana shippers now needed new ways to shield the notoriously fragile fruit.  Even with the greater resistance to bruising offered by the Big Mike’s thick peel, banana traders still needed extra protection for the banana’s journey from production to consumption.  Thus, schooners of the old guard were nearly extinct by the 1880s, as ships powered by steam took over the banana shipments.  Steamships, with their steady power supplies, offered guarantees against the weather systems that could waylay the vessels that relied on the sail.  Steamers, also because of their inexorable energy, could also hold and carry larger quantities of fruit than the clipper.  Fruit shipments, therefore, were both larger than ever and much less likely to be delayed en route, allowing for more consumable, that is, unspoiled, product to reach the marketplace.  Additional boons to the shipping industry arrived with the burgeoning refrigeration industry, allowing a substantial reduction in fruit spoilage.  By the 1920s, the export of desert bananas was a lucrative, well established business for the United Fruit Company and other fruit corporations.  A major upheaval in the industry, however, sparked by an unprecedented environmental disaster, loomed.
The switch from polyculture to monoculture in banana plantations had important consequences.  Perhaps the most obvious was a massive upswing in banana production.  As the desert banana dominated the overseas banana trade, plantations turned to intensively managed crops of one kind of plantain, the Gros Michel, for their harvests.  At the end of the nineteenth century, the Big Mike was the dominant varietal, indeed oftentimes the only varietal, grown on plantations throughout South and Central America.  The result was an unprecedented growth in banana exports during the early twentieth century.  By 1929, exports from the banana producing areas of tropical America reached a then world-record of 29 million bunches, up dramatically from the 8.4 million of 1912.  But such intensive production came with a massive cost: susceptibility to pathogens.
The intense monoculture had swathed the landscapes of Latin America in Gros Michel farms.  Moreover, because banana cultivation requires vegetative reproduction, given the fruits seedless, and therefore asexual, properties, the acres of Gros Michel banana crops were all genetically identical.  From 1899 onward, a plantain pathogen known as Fusarium oxysporum, colloquially known as “Panama Disease” or “fusarium wilt,” began spreading through banana plantations worldwide.  Panama disease, caused by a soil fungus, inevitably led to the death of its host, and the Gros Michel varietal proved particularly vulnerable to the fungus.  By the 1930s, Panama disease had diffused to nearly all of the banana farms of the American tropics, and by the 1950s had annihilated the Gros Michel commercially.  The fruit conglomerates had no choice but to abandon the varietal in favor of newer forms, and by 1958, the plantations turned to the Cavendish varietal, a smaller, less flavorful version of the Big Mike, but with a greater resistance to Panama Disease.
Today, the Cavendish banana remains the dominant banana varietal exported.  However, it, too is in danger of commercial extinction.  A strain of fusarium wilt, known as “Tropical Race Four,” is diffusing from Southeast Asia across the tropical band, spread by both anthropogenic and natural means.  The Cavendish is vulnerable to this strain of Panama Disease, and its commercial extinction, like its predecessor, seems likely.  Yet, the danger of Panama Disease, and its ilk, is not solely the burden of the desert banana, and thus the relatively small (15% worldwide) portion of bananas grown worldwide.
Banana diseases at epidemic levels threaten not only the monoculture plantations, but also the smaller, diverse banana crops propagated by small-scale farmers throughout the world.  If a disease manages to evolve past a resistant breed’s natural defenses, it may be able to “jump” the barrier from non-resistant types to affect even resistant varieties of the fruit.  Thus, an epidemic disease may be commercially devastating, but it is potentially of even greater danger to the millions of bananas grown for subsistence around the world.  If epidemic disease jumps readily from banana-type to banana-type, humans around the tropical world face potential starvation on a massive scale.  A worldwide, pan-plantain epidemic may be inconvenient for Americans and Europeans, but fatal for millions in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.  The banana’s future, and those of its cultivators, remains unknown.  

Nutritional Profile

Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese.

For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Banana.

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Bananas is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.

1.00 each
118.00 grams
105.02 calories
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin B60.43 mg21.53.7very good
vitamin C10.27 mg17.12.9good
manganese0.32 mg16.02.7good
fiber3.07 g12.32.1good
potassium422.44 mg12.12.1good
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
excellentDV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very goodDV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
goodDV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

Content and active ingredients of banana

banana,nutrition facts of banana

Polysaccharides: 20% of starch in the fresh fruit.

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) 10 to 20 mg/100 g in the fresh fruit.

Amines: serotonin (28 g / g fresh fruit). Tyramine (7 g / g fresh fruit) dipamina (8 g / g fresh fruit), noradrenaline (2 g / g fresh fruit).

citric acid and malic acid.

Aromatics substances: 180 components (isopentenyl acetate as main flavor).

The banana contains plenty of water and carbohydrates. About 1% consists of fiber, protein and fat.

The whole plant is rich in tannins, phenolics, biogenic amines and nucleosides.

Nutitional Value of Banana

One normal size  banana nutritional value

Protein 1.29gm

Calories 105

Fiber      3.1gm

Minerals in banana

Potassium – 422 mg

Phosphorus – 26 mg

Magnesium – 32 mg

Calcium – 6 mg

Sodium – 1 mg

Iron – 0.31 mg

Selenium 1.2 mcg

Manganese – 0.319 mg

Copper – 0.092 mg

Zinc – 0.18 mg

Vitamins in banana

Vitamin A – 76 IU

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.037 mg

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.086 mg

Niacin – 0.785 mg

Folate – 24 mcg

Pantothenic Acid – 0.394 mg

Vitamin B6 – 0.433 mg

Vitamin C – 10.3 mg

Vitamin E – 0.12 mg

Vitamin K – 0.6 mcg

Preparation and Dosage

It is taken orally in the form of powder mixed with milk or making banana bread called Chapatis.



Wonderfully sweet with firm and creamy flesh, bananas come prepackaged in their own yellow jackets and are available for harvest throughout the year.

The banana plant grows 10 to 26 feet and belongs to the same family as the lily and the orchid.

The cluster of fruits contain anywhere from 50 to 150 bananas with individual fruits grouped in bunches, known as "hands," containing 10 to 25 bananas.

Nutrients in
1.00 each (118.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

 vitamin B621.5%

 vitamin C17.1%




Calories (105)5%




This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Bananas provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Bananas can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Bananas, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health benefits of banana

Health benefits of banana

The best known health benefits of the banana are:

The starch prevents formation of stomach ulcers and reduces cholesterol

It is
an important source of potassium for the proper functioning of the heart.

The Banana has anti-asthmatic properties, antituberculosis and anticancerous.

Is used against hemoptysis and to treat burns (facilitates regranulation and reepithelialization).


It is also used for digestive discomfort, the “bananina” (banana starch mixed with milk) is used to fight diarrhea.

Is indicated for dyspepsia, gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, diarrhea, hypertension, scurvy and gout.

The roots have been used as anthelmintic.

It has excellent nutritional properties.



Benefits of Banana – Health Benefits of Eating Bananas 

It's a rich supply of potassium. The simple banana is also a natural supply of iron.

Banana is an efficient fruit for health Benefits. The mixture of carbohydrates and vitamins contained in banana helps a power increase. Natural fiber in banana also gives towards the many health Benefits. Here are some important Benefits of banana.


Banana fruit has numerous health benefits. It’s a rich supply of potassium. The simple banana is also a natural supply of iron. Banana is really a nutritious food helping in weight loss, constipation, blood pressure level, brain power, anemia. As well as the cardiovascular benefits, the potassium present in bananas also may help to promote bone health. This short article helps you to find the many benefits of bananas that you might not know about.

Benefits of Eating Bananas

Bananas contains three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose. These natural sugars coupled with fiber inside a banana gives an immediate, sustained and substantial boost of one’s. Research has proven that simply two bananas provide enough energy for any strenuous 90-minute workout. No surprise the banana may be the number one fruit using the world’s leading athletes. But energy isn’t only way a banana might help us exercise. It can also help overcome or prevent a considerable number of illnesses and scenarios, making it essential to add to our diet.

Depression – : Based on a recent survey amongst people struggling with depression, many felt far better after eating a banana. The reason being bananas contain tryptophan, a kind of protein the body converts into serotonin, recognized to make you relax, enhance your mood and usually make you feel happier.

PMS – : Your investment pills – consume a banana. The vitamin B6 it has regulates blood sugar levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia – : Full of iron, bananas can stimulate producing hemoglobin in the blood and thus helps in cases of anemia.

Blood pressure level – : This excellent tropical fruit is very high in potassium yet lower in salt, which makes it the perfect to conquer blood pressure. So much in fact, the US Fda has just allowed the banana industry to create official claims for that fruit’s ability to lessen the risk of blood pressure level and stroke.

Mental ability – : 200 students in a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this season by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch inside a bid to enhance their mental ability. Research has shown the potassium-packed fruit can help learning by looking into making pupils more alert.

Constipation – : Full of fiber, including bananas within the diet might help restore normal bowel action, assisting to overcome the issue without resorting to laxatives.

Heartburn – : Bananas possess a natural antacid effect in your body, so if you are afflicted by heartburn, have a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness – : Snacking on bananas between meals keeps blood sugar levels up and steer clear of morning sickness.

Mosquito Bites – : Before grabbing the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected region with the within a banana skin. Lots of people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves – : The simple banana is high in B vitamins which help calm the central nervous system. Overweight and also at work? Studies in the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at the office leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Taking a look at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found probably the most obese were more prone to be in high-pressure jobs The report figured, to avoid panic-induced craving for food, we need to control our glucose levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every 2 hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers – : The banana can be used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders due to the soft texture and smoothness. It’s the only raw fruit that may be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. Additionally, it neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the liner of the stomach.

Temperature Control – : A number of other cultures see bananas like a “cooling” fruit that may lower both physical and emotional temperature of pregnant women. In Thailand , for instance, pregnant women eat bananas to make sure their baby comes into the world with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – : Bananas might help SAD sufferers simply because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking – : Bananas will also help people attempting to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain along with the potassium and magnesium present in them, assist the body recover from the results of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress – : Potassium is a crucial mineral, which will help normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen towards the brain and regulates your own body’s water balance. If we are stressed, our metabolism rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. It may be balanced by using a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes – : Based on research in “The Colonial Journal of drugs,”eating bananas included in a regular diet can reduce the risk of death by strokes up to 40%.

Warts – : Those interested in natural alternatives swear when you want to get rid of a wart, have a piece of banana skin and put it around the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully contain the skin in position with a plaster or surgical tape.

So, a banana is indeed a natural fix for many ills. When comparing it for an apple, it’s four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, 3 times the phosphorus, 5 times the vit a and iron, and twice another vitamins and minerals. It’s also rich in potassium and it is one of the best value foods around.



25 Powerful Reasons to Eat Bananas

Eating bananas aids digestion

You'll never look at a banana the same way again after discovering the many health benefits and reasons to add them to your diet. Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes.

If you think bananas are just for monkeys, think again.

1. Bananas help overcome depression due high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin -- the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter
2. Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar

3. Protect against muscle cramps during workouts and night time leg cramps by eating a banana
4. Counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones by
supplementing with a banana
5. Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana,
which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-relieving relaxation
6. Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight
loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of
white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6
7. Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from
8. High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by
the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure, and protect against heart
attack and stroke

9. Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and
heavy metals from the body
10. Bananas act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in
the bowel. They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing
11. Constipated? High fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel motility.
12. Got the runs? Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help
restore lost electrolytes after diarrhea.
13. Bananas are a natural antacid, providing relief from acid reflux,
heartburn and GERD
14. Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress to
relieve stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against
corrosive acids

Natural cures from a simple banana

15. Eating bananas helps prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against
macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing
calcium absorption
16. Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more
alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels
of potassium.
17. Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection
from chronic disease
18. Eating a banana between meals helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce
nausea from morning sickness
19. Rub a bug bite or hives with the inside of the banana peel to relieve
itching and irritation
20. Control blood sugar and avoid binging between meals by eating a
21. Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a
fever or on a hot day
22. The natural mood-enhancer tryptophan, helps to relieve Seasonal
Affective Disorder (SAD)
23. Quitting smoking? Bananas contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as
potassium and magnesium speed recovery from the effects of
24. Remove a wart by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against
the wart and taping it in place
25. Rub the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes or handbag and
polish with a dry cloth for a quick shine

What Are the Health Benefits of One Banana a Day?

Adding a banana to your daily diet has an array of benefits in your body. Bananas help you reach your weight-loss goals, keep your bowels healthy, provide nutrients that regulate heart rhythm and have vitamin compounds for eye health. Keep a bunch of bananas on your desk at work and replenish your stock each week. You'll be more likely to reach for a healthy banana -- instead of heading to the vending machine -- if you have a bunch sitting in front of you.


Weight Loss

Finding foods to fit into your weight-loss diet can be challenging, but bananas make a perfect fit. Bananas are naturally sweet and can help curb your sweet tooth if you get that afternoon sugar craving. A 6-inch banana has a minimal 90 calories, about one-fourth of the calories you would get from a chocolate candy bar. Additionally, about half of the fiber content in bananas is soluble. When soluble fiber reaches your digestive tract, it absorbs water and slows digestion. Food is forced to sit in your stomach for a while, making you feel full. If you have a banana before lunch, you'll be less likely to overeat when your food comes to the table.


Enjoying a banana each day aids in keeping you regular. One 6-inch banana has more than 2.5 grams of total fiber, about half of which are insoluble. As insoluble fiber travels through your digestive tract, it sweeps up waste and helps push it out. You'll have more regular bowel movements that are soft and easy to pass. Keep your bowels healthy by getting 14 grams of fiber in your diet for every 1,000 calories you consume, reports Colorado State University Extension. For example, if you tend to stick to an 1,800-calorie diet, you need about 25 grams of total fiber. You get nearly 10 percent of your daily fiber needs -- for this number of calories -- from one 6-inch banana.

Normal Heart Function

Having a banana at breakfast every day adds a nutrient to your body to support normal heart function. Bananas are rich in a mineral electrolyte called potassium. When potassium enters your body, it absorbs directly into your bloodstream through intestinal walls. Potassium travels around to cells all over your body and dissolves in fluid inside of cells. It travels across cell membranes if needed to keep fluid balanced in and around cells. This process keeps electricity flowing throughout your system, which is required to make your heart beat. In cases of severe potassium deficiency, your heart rhythm may become irregular, which can be deadly. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, you need 4,700 milligrams of potassium on a daily basis. Bananas provide more than 360 milligrams per 6-inch piece of fruit.

Eye Health

Adding a banana to your diet also helps keep your eyes healthy. Bananas have a small amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for protecting your eyes and normal vision. The term "vitamin A" refers to a series of compounds, including beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. These compounds preserve the membranes that surround your eyes and are a component of one of the proteins that brings light into your cornea. Adequate daily vitamin A intake also lessens your risk of night blindness and is essential for everyday vision. Women require 700 micrograms of daily vitamin A, and men need 900 micrograms, explains the Office of Dietary Supplements. One 6-inch banana has nearly 10 micrograms of vitamin A. Bananas also contain alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which convert to vitamin A to further keep your eyes healthy.


Uses of banana

Warnings use

Chronic ingestion may cause myocardial fibrosis. The banana should not be eaten raw, but boiled or fried.


Health Benefits

Creamy, rich, and sweet, bananas are a favorite food for everyone from infants to elders. Sports enthusiasts appreciate the potassium-power delivered by this high energy fruit.

Cardiovascular Protection from Potassium and Fiber

Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains a whopping 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies. For example, researchers tracked over 40,000 American male health professionals over four years to determine the effects of diet on blood pressure. Men who ate diets higher in potassium-rich foods, as well as foods high in magnesium and cereal fiber, had a substantially reduced risk of stroke.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as bananas, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.

In addition to these cardiovascular benefits, the potassium found in bananas may also help to promote bone health. Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets typical of most Americans, thus helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

Soothing Protection from Ulcers

Bananas have long been recognized for their antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. In one study, a simple mixture of banana and milk significantly suppressed acid secretion. In an animal study, researchers found that fresh bananas protected the animals' stomachs from wounds.

Bananas work their protective magic in two ways: First, substances in bananas help activate the cells that compose the stomach lining, so they produce a thicker protective mucus barrier against stomach acids. Second, other compounds in bananas called protease inhibitors help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of stomach ulcers.

Improving Elimination

Bananas are a smart move if you suffer from elimination problems. A bout of diarrhea can quickly deplete your body of important electrolytes. Bananas can replenish your stores of potassium, one of the most important electrolytes, which helps regulate heart function as well as fluid balance.

In addition, bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber (called a hydrocolloid) that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation. Bananas also contain resistant starch, but this amount varies depending on their degree of ripeness. In their lesser ripe stages, bananas score as low as 30 on the glycemic index (below 50 would be considered low). In their riper stages, this number usually rises to a moderate level in the 60's. All of the above features help place banana in a more favorable digestive light than might otherwise be expected for a sugary fruit.

Protect Your Eyesight

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

In this study, which involved over over 100,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. Food intake information was collected periodically for up to 18 years for women and 12 years for men.

While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease.

Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but by simply tossing a banana into your morning smoothie or slicing it over your cereal, topping off a cup of yogurt or green salad with a half cup of berries, and snacking on an apple, plum, nectarine or pear, you've reached this goal.

Build Better Bones with Bananas

Build better bones by eating bananas? Yes, enjoying bananas frequently as part of your healthy way of eating can help improve your body's ability to absorb calcium via several mechanisms.

Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound called a prebiotic because it nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve our ability to absorb nutrients, plus compounds that protect us against unfriendly microorganisms. When fructooligosaccharides are fermented by these friendly bacteria, not only do numbers of probiotic bacteria increase, but so does the body's ability to absorb calcium. In addition, gastrointestinal transit time is lessened, decreasing the risk of colon cancer.

Green bananas contain indigestible (to humans) short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are a favorite food of the cells that make up the lining of the intestines. When these cells are well-nourished and healthy, the body's ability to absorb nutrients such as calcium can increase dramatically.

Research published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences underscores just how much bananas can improve nutrient absorption. In this study, 57 male babies (5-12 months) with persistent diarrhea of at least 14 days duration were given a week's treatment with a rice-based diet containing either green banana, apple pectin or the rice diet alone. Treatment with both green banana and apple pectin resulted in a 50% reduction in stool weights, indicating that the babies were absorbing significantly more nutrients.

Also, to check how well their intestines were able to absorb nutrients, the babies were given a drink containing lactulose and mannitol. Lactulose is a compound that should be absorbed, while mannitol is one that should not be. When the intestines are too permeable, a condition clinicians call "leaky gut," too little lactulose and too much mannitol are absorbed. After just one week of being given the green banana-rice diet, the babies' were absorbing much more lactulose and little mannitol, showing that their intestines were now functioning properly.

Some banana cultivars are also rich in provitamin A carotenoids, which have been shown to protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. How to identify which bananas contain the most carotenoids? Check the color of their edible flesh. Bananas whose flesh is more golden contain the most carotenoids.

Promote Kidney Health through Regular and Moderated Intake

About 190,000 cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and exposure to toxic chemicals such as asbestos and cadmium.

Dietary factors can be related to kidney disease in a preventive way. Research published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that regular, moderated consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, can be protective. The results of this large population based prospective study (13.4 years) of 61,000 women aged 40-76, show that women eating more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables per month (which translates into 2.5 per day) cut their risk of kidney cancer 40%. Among the fruits, bananas were especially protective. Women eating bananas four to six times a week halved their risk of developing the disease compared to those who did not eat this fruit.

Salads, eaten at least once a day, were associated with a 40% decreased risk. Among vegetables, frequent consumption of root vegetables and white cabbage offered the most protection, providing a 50-65% decrease in risk.

The conclusion drawn by the researchers: routine and moderated consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, cabbage and root vegetables, may reduce risk of kidney cancer. Why these foods? Bananas and many root vegetables contain especially high amounts of antioxidant phenolic compounds. Cabbage is rich in sulfur compounds necessary for efficient and effective detoxification of potential carcinogens. This mixture of phytonutrients may have been particularly helpful in protecting kidney function.

The benefits of regular and moderated fruit intake need to be contrasted, however, with the increased risks that stem from very high consumption of fruit juices. In several studies examining diet and renal (kidney) cancer, very high consumption of fruit juices is associated with increased cancer risk. Since most fruit juice consumption involves highly processed fruits and stands in sharp contrast to consumption of whole, natural foods, this finding is not surprising. The reasons for avoiding high intake of fruit juice are not limited to increased risk of kidney disease, but also to problems involved with excessive sugar intake and excessive calorie intake from non-whole foods. Moderate amounts of fruit juice - especially juice containing as much of the whole fruit as possible, for example, pulp or skin - are still recommended, since these limited amounts in a balanced diet appear to be protective against kidney cancer.

How to Select and Store

Since bananas are picked off the tree while they're still green, it's not unusual to see them this color in the store. Base your choice of bananas depending upon when you want to consume them. Bananas with more green coloration will take longer to ripen than those more yellow in hue and/or with brown spots.

Bananas should be firm, but not too hard, bright in appearance, and free from bruises or other injuries. Their stems and tips should be intact. The size of the banana does not affect its quality, so simply choose the size that best meets your needs.


While bananas look resilient, they're actually very fragile and care should be taken in their storage. They should be left to ripen at room temperature and should not be subjected to overly hot or cold temperatures. Unripe bananas should not be placed in the refrigerator as this will interrupt the ripening process to such an extent that it will not be able to resume even if the bananas are returned to room temperature.

If you need to hasten the ripening process, you can place bananas in a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper, adding an apple to accelerate the process. Ripe bananas that will not be consumed for a few days can be placed in the refrigerator. While their peel may darken, the flesh will not be affected. For maximum flavor when consuming refrigerated bananas, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to come back to room temperature.


For the most antioxidants, eat fully ripened fruit:

Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase.

Key to the process is the change in color that occurs as fruits ripen, a similar process to that seen in the fall when leaves turn from green to red to yellow to brownâ€" a color change caused by the breakdown and disappearance of chlorophyll, which gives leaves and fruits their green color.

Until now, no one really knew what happened to chlorophyll during this process, but lead researcher, Bernard Krutler, and his team, working together with botanists over the past several years, has identified the first decomposition products in leaves: colorless, polar NCCs (nonfluorescing chlorophyll catabolytes), that contain four pyrrole rings - like chlorophyll and heme.

After examining apples and pears, the scientists discovered that NCCs replace the chlorophyll not only in the leaves of fruit trees, but in their very ripe fruits, especially in the peel and flesh immediately below it.

"When chlorophyll is released from its protein complexes in the decomposition process, it has a phototoxic effect: when irradiated with light, it absorbs energy and can transfer it to other substances. For example, it can transform oxygen into a highly reactive, destructive form," report the researchers. However, NCCs have just the opposite effect. Extremely powerful antioxidants, they play an important protective role for the plant, and when consumed as part of the human diet, NCCs deliver the same potent antioxidant protection within our bodies. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2007 Nov 19;46(45):8699-8702.

Bananas can also be frozen and will keep for about 2 months. Either puree them before freezing or simply remove the peel and wrap the bananas in plastic wrap. To prevent discoloration, add some lemon juice before freezing.

How to Enjoy

In addition to being eaten raw, bananas are a wonderful addition to a variety of recipes from salads to baked goods.

A few quick serving ideas:
  • A peanut butter and banana sandwich drizzled with honey is an all-time favorite comfort food for children and adults alike.
  • Add chopped bananas, walnuts and maple syrup to oatmeal or porridge.
  • Try our Tropical Breakfast Risotto in the Recipe File.

Individual Concerns

Bananas and Latex Allergy

Like avocados and chestnuts, bananas and plantain contain substances called chitinases that are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. There is strong evidence of the cross-reaction between latex and these foods. If you have a latex allergy, you may very likely be allergic to these foods as well. Processing the fruit with ethylene gas increases these enzymes; organic produce not treated with gas will have fewer allergy-causing compounds. In addition, cooking the food may deactivate the enzymes.

In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Bananas

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