Though not widely eaten in the western world, the banana flower is considered to be a vegetable in many parts of the world. It comes from a tree and originated in the Indo-Malaysian region of the Pacific Ocean. It then migrated to Europe and then many other parts of the world. Along with an actual banana, banana flowers actually have some inherent health benefits. Here are 8 benefits of eating banana flowers.
1. It regulates the menstrual cycle and is good for lactating mothers
Banana flowers have the ability to regulate the menstrual cycle as they help increase the progesterone levels in women. Progesterone, as explained by Healthy Women, is a hormone in women that regulates important bodily functions that have to do with regulating the menstrual cycle, maintaining pregnancy, and preparing the body for conception.
High progesterone levels have been know to be causal of some of the symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, or moodiness, when a woman’s menstrual cycle comes around. Low levels tend to be causal of missing a cycle. Along with regulating the menstrual cycle, high progesterone levels also stimulate the milk-producing glands in women during pregnancy, therefore boosting the supply of milk for your child.
2. It is the best food for diabetes patients
A study showed that when diabetes patients consumed banana flowers, their blood sugar levels dropped.
Insulin is the hormone in the body made by the pancreas that is used to help regulate blood sugar levels. People with diabetes have too much sugar in the blood due to not enough insulin being produced and this can be very harmful to the body.
3. It cures anemia
Banana flowers are known to raise hemoglobin in the body as they are rich in iron. As WebMD explains, iron is a component of hemoglobin which is a substance in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is used to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body. Iron is an integral part of our bodily function as a lack of it results in health decline. If you don’t have enough iron, then your body can’t make enough red bloods cells, resulting in anemia.
4. It relieves you from constipation
Banana flowers are rich in fiber. Fiber is an essential part of the body as it assists with healthy digestion, the regularity of bowel movements, and ultimately speeding up the removal of toxic waste within the colon. Fiber is also useful in weight loss.
5. It keeps infection away
Banana flowers naturally fight infection as they encompass ethanol-based extracts. These extracts inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, which is the bacteria that can cause staph, strep throat, and more unwanted and harmful conditions in the body.
6. It reduces free radicals in the body
Banana flowers contain methanol, which works as a powerful antioxidant in the body, reducing free radicals. Free radicals attack healthy cells and lead to detrimental healths problems such as cancer, heart disease, and skin aging.
7. It is rich in vitamins and minerals
Banana flowers have a multitude of vitamins and minerals that are essential to our bodies. These include vitamin A, C, and E, potassium, and, as already discussed, fiber. Vitamin A is essential for normal vision, reproduction, and the immune system. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and assists in the growth and repair of your tissues and bodily wounds. Vitamin E is good for the immune system, the skin, and the eyes. It also helps protect against free radicals. Potassium is important to the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs within the body.
8. It lowers anxiety levels and blood pressure
Banana flowers act as a natural anti-depressant. They are rich in magnesium, which plays a great role in improving your mood and reducing stress without the detrimental side effects that most anti-depressants have. Magnesium also has the ability to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure), which can lead to heart disease and/or stroke.
And there you have some of the amazing benefits of eating banana flowers. Banana flowers can be found at farmers markets, roadside stands, and grocery stores, and they can be eaten in a multitude of ways. Many Asians use banana flowers as as vegetable. It can be eaten both raw or cooked — whichever way you prefer. Any way you choose to eat it, the benefits of the banana flower are immense. Try incorporating it into your diet!
Featured photo credit: Wen Tong Neo via flickr.com