Advertising
Advertising

8 Impressive Health Benefits of Eating Banana Flower

8 Impressive Health Benefits of Eating Banana Flower

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Advertising

1 tablespoon butter

1 spring onion, cut finely

1/2 pound of prawns

5 tablespoons almonds

Advertising

1 teaspoon lime juice

salt and pepper

Instructions

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!

More by this author

Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds You Shouldn’t Miss 7 Superfoods To Restore Energy When You’re Burnt Out

Trending in Health

1What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively 210 Benefits of Sleeping Naked You Probably Didn’t Know 3Signs Your Lack of Sleep Is Slowly Killing You (And How to Turn Around) 4How to Prevent Child Obesity and Help Your Child Stay Healthy 5How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 18, 2018

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

Video Summary

Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

Sitting Is the New Smoking

Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

Advertising

Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

    Sit Properly

    If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

    Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

      Credit: StayWow

      Stand Up More

      Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

      Advertising

      Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

      Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

      Or get a standing desk.

      One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

      Exercise for Lower Back Pain

      Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

      But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

      The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

      Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

      Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

      This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

      Advertising

      Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

      Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

      There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

      Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

      I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

      Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

      If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

      Where to Start

      The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

      Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

      Advertising

      If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

      Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

      Keep a straight back.

      Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

      Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

      I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

      If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

      Stay Away From the Back Pain League

      Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Read Next