Archaeological surveys reveal that bananas were cultivated even in 8000 BC and hence it may have been the oldest cultivated fruit in the world! It came into India from Malaysia where it is said to have originated. Buddhist Pali’s, writings dating to the 6th century mentions of bananas. Alexander the Great is said to have relish his first taste of the fruit during his campaigns in 327 BC. He is credited to have taken it to the western world.
Musa acuminate got its popular name banana from the Arabian slave traders. The bananas growing in Africa and South East Asia were rather small, about as long as a man’s fingers. They therefore named it banan which means finger in Arabic.
Musa paradisiacal is another species form the same genus Musa which also originated in Southeast Asia though later more frequently cultivated in Spain. It is commonly called the plantain.
Both in the raw and ripe form it is a poor man’s fruit. The saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was propagated perhaps by a community that was not so used to the humble banana.
The banana contains—
- 4 times more protein
- 2 times more carbohydrates
- 3 times more phosphorous
- 5 times more vitamin A and iron
- 2 times more of vitamins and minerals
–Than an apple and it is also rich in potassium.
Banana helps in:
-avoiding constipation due to it’s fibre content.
-during diarrhoea as it is a good water absorbent.
-neutralising harmful bacteria in the intestines.
-increasing haemoglobin due to it’s high iron content.
-alleviating gout and arthritis.
-keeping the blood pressure under control due to the low salt combination with a high potassium content.
-stomach ulcer—being a natural antacid.
-for colitis, digestive disorder, hemorroids.
Bananas contain no allergens and are the easiest food to digest. Therefore it is the baby’s first solid food.
A word of caution –those suffering from kidney failure should not be consuming bananas.