Bananas have been wildly popular in the West since they were first introduced there and were once such an important commodity that the term “banana republic” was invented to describe the economies that grew up around this fruit. What many people do not realize, however, is that bananas are not the only edible part of the banana tree — banana flowers also have a wide variety of benefits to offer. Check them out below!
1. Treats Infections
Banana flowers contain a compound called ethanol, which has known anti-microbial properties and has been used by native peoples to help treat problems like wound or skin infections for hundreds of years. Ethanol can help to kill off bacteria, but it is also effective at reducing the risk of contracting parasite-borne illnesses like malaria (which is still a major health threat in many tropical countries).
2. Slows the Aging Process
These flowers are rich in vitamin C and compounds like tannins and flavonoids, which are all known to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important for the body’s health because they reduce stress on cells throughout the body and can help to slow down the aging process.
3. Promotes Heart Health
In many countries of the world, heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death. However, a diet rich in potassium has been shown to help protect heart — and banana flowers, like bananas themselves, are an excellent source of this. Potassium acts on the body like a virtual antidote to sodium (which most people get way too much of in their diet) and is a great, natural way to reduce blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiac disease.
4. Improves Digestion
For people suffering from poor digestion, problems with heartburn, upset stomach, or constipation, banana flowers are a good dietary choice to help correct this. This is because they have both soluble fiber (which speeds up digestion and makes the process more efficient) and insoluble fiber (which bulks up your stools and reduces the risk of constipation). Together, these two types of fiber can help treat many digestive problems.
5. Promotes Relaxation
Unfortunately, stress is an inescapable part of modern life. However, a diet which includes banana flowers can help. These flowers are rich in magnesium, which works on the body to relax it naturally and which also promotes restful sleep. Sleep is an important way to help reduce the toll that stress takes on the body.
6. Supports Menstrual Health
Many women suffer from irregular periods or ones that are too light too heavy for long-term health. A common cause of this problem is low progesterone levels. Banana flowers can help as they can boost the body’s progesterone levels and regulate a woman’s hormones so that the menstrual cycle is more regular.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar
People who have diabetes can really struggle from day to day to keep their blood sugar from getting too high or too low. But due to the fact that banana flowers are so high in fiber, they help the body to break down food more slowly and prevent any spikes in the blood sugar that can lead to long-term diabetic complications like kidney disease or nerve damage.
8. Treats Anemia
Anemia is a serious condition where the body is not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to all the cells of the body. The body needs iron in order to do this and that is where banana flowers come in: they are rich in iron and that is what the body needs to build up red blood cells in the first place. This can help to, along with a generally iron-rich diet, help treat anemia naturally and build up the body’s energy levels.
Try This Banana Flower Recipe!
You are probably wondering just how to fit banana flowers into your diet, since this a bit of an exotic ingredient in the Western diet. Well, here is a simple recipe below to help you get started!
Banana Blossom Salad
2 banana blossoms
1 tablespoon butter
1 spring onion, cut finely
1/2 pound of prawns
5 tablespoons almonds
1 teaspoon lime juice
salt and pepper
Core and cube the banana flowers and soak them overnight in a bowl of water with a teaspoon of vinegar. Clean and trench them well. Cook the prawns in the butter with pepper and salt. Grind almonds into a dry paste. Toss all ingredients in a mixing bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with a mint leaf and serve.
So try this salad today and start including banana flowers in your diet — the health benefits they offer will make this change more than worth the effort!