Although we are all used to calling bananas fruits, but from a botanical point of view, they belong to berries. Another unexpected fact about these fruits: researcher Dan Koppel suggests that the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden that Eva offered Adam was not an apple, but a banana. And on this interesting facts about these yellow exotics are not exhausted.
Where did the bananas come from?
The first bananas, scientists believe, arose about 10 thousand years ago. And if so, then they claim to be called the first fruits in the world that have survived to this day. Researchers have made discoveries that suggest that the first banana trees grew in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Indonesia. From here, over time, merchants brought these plants to India, Africa, and Polynesia. The first written memoirs were found among Buddhists and date back to about 600 BC. e. And when in 327 BC e. the army of Alexander the Great invaded India, the first thing they discovered was banana valleys. So the Western world learned about these yellow exotics. And by 200 BC. e. bananas reached China, where they “settled” the southern regions of the country. However, here the fruits were not very popular and until the twentieth century were considered strange and alien fruits.
Modern bananas, which you can buy on the market throughout the year, are very different from their wild ancestors, in which there were a lot of hard seeds and not very tasty crumb. Modern bananas appeared around 650 BC. e. in Africa as a result of the crossing of two varieties of wild bananas - this is how seedless and larger fruits appeared. Today, bananas are grown in at least 110 countries around the world, and they are one of the most sought after fruits. Only Americans annually eat significantly more bananas than apples and oranges combined.
What does the name of the fruit mean?
Historians suggest that bananas got their name, so to speak, from the light hand of Arab merchants. In those days in southeast Asia, banana fruits were very small by modern standards - not more than a finger of an adult.
Hence the strange name: "banana" in translation from Arabic means "finger".
According to another theory, the authorship of this name belongs to one of the nationalities that inhabited western Africa.
Bananas are exotic fruits of an elliptical shape with a creamy pulp covered with a dense inedible peel. A banana tree can grow from 3 to 6 m in height. Fruits are formed by groups of 50-150 fruits, which are combined in clusters of 10-25 bananas.
Today, biologists know many varieties of bananas, but the most popular is Cavendish. It is this variety that most often appears on our shelves. And he got his strange name in honor of the Englishman William Spencer Cavendish, who actually brought this variety from China around 1826 and began to actively grow fruits in greenhouses. From 1900 to today, this variety of bananas remains the most popular on the market.
In addition, all the edible banana varieties that are known today are divided into 2 groups: sweet and vegetable fruits (plantain). Sweet varieties may vary in taste, color and size. They come with red, pink, purple and even black peel. Vegetable varieties are valued for their high concentration of beta-carotene.
Benefit for health
Bananas, these amazing yellow fruits, are equally beneficial for both adults and toddlers. And all - thanks to a rich mineral-vitamin set.
The cardiovascular system
The first reason why bananas are beneficial to the cardiovascular system is their high potassium content. This mineral is responsible for normalizing blood pressure and heart performance. So one medium banana contains almost 400 mg of potassium, and this is enough to maintain normal pressure and prevent atherosclerosis. The effectiveness of this theory was confirmed by American scientists. For 4 years they watched several thousand men whose diet contained potassium and magnesium. It turned out that almost all participants in the experiment had a reduced risk of developing a stroke, as well as stabilized blood pressure.
The second reason that makes bananas a useful food for the cardiovascular system is the high content of sterols. Structurally, these substances resemble cholesterol and are able to block the body's absorption of cholesterol from food. As a result, we can say that bananas prevent the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
Third reason: bananas are a great source of fiber. One medium fruit contains about 3 g of fiber, 1 g of which is soluble dietary fiber. And they, as shown by scientific experience, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Bananas are amazing fruits in terms of carbohydrate and sugar content. Despite the fact that they are quite sweet and in ripe fruits there are approximately 14-15 g of sugars, these yellow exotics belong to products with a low glycemic index.
As mentioned earlier, 1 average banana contains about 3 g of dietary fiber. They are necessary for the regulation of the digestive process, as well as the breakdown of carbohydrates to states of simple sugars. Fruits also contain pectin, a unique and more complex type of dietary fiber. Some of the pectins are water soluble. In the process of ripening bananas, the number of water-soluble pectins increases, which is one of the reasons why more mature fruits are very soft. Also, as the concentration of water-soluble pectins increases, the proportion of fructose increases (compared to other sugars). The essence of this proportional relationship between fructose and pectins explains the secret to the easy digestion of this fruit.
Another important component of bananas - fructooligosaccharides - a unique type of fructose, which, as a rule, does not break down under the influence of enzymes, but only in the lower intestine under the influence of beneficial bacteria. This process helps maintain the balance of bacteria that are "friendly" to the body. The results of the study showed: if 2 bananas are consumed daily for 2 months, the number of beneficial bifidobacteria increases. As a result, the frequency of gastrointestinal problems decreases.
Benefits for Athletes
A unique combination of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index makes bananas a favorite fruit of athletes. Eaten before exercise, they increase physical stamina. A study with the participation of cyclists showed that a banana (calculated as half a fruit for every 15 minutes of riding) maintains energy reserves at the same level. In addition, athletes consume these fruits as a remedy for muscle cramps. Studies have shown that consuming 1-2 bananas an hour before a workout helps maintain potassium levels in the blood after exercise, namely a lack of this mineral causes muscle pain.
The nutritional value
These yellow fruits are a good source of vitamin B6, ascorbic acid, manganese, potassium, copper, biotin, and fiber.
|Calorie content||105 kcal|
|Fats||0, 39 g|
|Vitamin B1||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.78 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.39 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.43 mg|
|Folic acid||23.6 mcg|
|Vitamin C||10.27 mg|
|Vitamin A||75 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.59 mcg|
|Potassium||422, 4 mg|
Who benefits from bananas
The chemical composition of these fruits determines their beneficial properties. In particular, you can outline the circle of people who are particularly in need of bananas. And these are people who are diagnosed with:
- high blood pressure;
- cancer (bananas prevent childhood leukemia, colorectal cancer);
- cardiovascular diseases;
- diabetes (green bananas increase insulin sensitivity);
- diarrhea and other digestive disorders;
- distraction and memory impairment;
In addition, bananas are useful in preventing kidney cancer, they protect the eyes from macular degeneration and strengthen bones, improving calcium absorption. These fruits are useful for children, as they improve learning abilities. The high content of antioxidants makes them useful for protection against free radicals. Many pregnant women escape from early toxicosis with bananas. The same fruits will help bring down the temperature during a fever.
Fruits are also useful for people who quit smoking, as they provide the necessary B vitamins, potassium and magnesium, which accelerate the process of purification and recovery of the body.
A banana peel will help relieve the itching at the site of the insect bite, which must be wiped off the damaged area. The same part of the fruit will help get rid of warts. To do this, glue a piece of peel to the wart. And if you rub leather shoes or a bag with a peel of a banana, and then polish it with a soft cloth, then they will sparkle like new.
Possible hazardous properties
Eaten in moderation, these fruits do not cause any significant side effects.
However, excessive passion for exotic fruits (more than 5 bananas per day) can cause headaches and drowsiness. This is especially true for overripe bananas. In rare cases, they can cause hyperkalemia, but for this you will have to eat about 43 fruits, and to get an overdose of vitamin B6 you will need about a thousand bananas. Too frequent consumption of sweet fruits does not affect teeth in the best way - it leads to the destruction of enamel.
They can cause one of the types of food allergies - the so-called latex-fruit syndrome. This disease is the result of the reaction of the immune system to proteins contained in natural rubber and certain substances contained in bananas. By the way, this type of allergy can also be caused by kiwi, papaya, tomatoes, potatoes, avocados.
How to choose and store
Since bananas grown for industrial purposes are often ripened still green, there is nothing strange that in stores you can see fruits with a greenish tint. For this reason, fruits should be selected taking into account when you plan to eat them. Fruits with a green tint will need a couple more days to finally ripen. The yellower the fruits, the shorter their shelf life. Proper bananas should be hard, but not too hard. In any case, the color should be bright, the skin is smooth, without damage. The size of the fetus does not affect its taste.
And although bananas at first glance look very persistent, in fact they are fragile fruits that require special care during storage. Greenish fruits should ripen at room temperature. Also, do not give in to the influence of low temperatures. Many people like to store fruits in the refrigerator. But it's not right. Bananas are thermophilic. And if the unripe fruit is sent to the refrigerator, and then returned to room temperature, the ripening process will not resume. The only time that bananas are justified in the refrigerator is to prevent rotting of overripe fruits. And although their skin will still turn black, but the flesh will remain dense and edible. Some people prefer to freeze bananas. In this case, it is important to treat with cold only peeled fruits wrapped in plastic film or crushed to a puree state. To prevent discoloration after thawing, before sending the pulp to the freezer, it is important to add a little lemon juice to it.
But you can accelerate the ripening of the fruit if you put them in a paper bag or wrap them in a newspaper. But at the same time, it’s imperative to “hook” bananas with a neighbor - an apple. By the way, ripe fruits are richer sources of antioxidants than unripe ones.
What to do with the skin
It is not customary to eat a banana peel, but this does not mean that it is poisonous. On the contrary, it contains vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, a lot of fiber and protein. However, at the same time, it is in a banana skin that all the pesticides that treated the plant are collected. But, if you are confident in the environmental friendliness of the fruit, it is customary to use banana peels for making jam, it can be fried or mashed from it.
Bananas in cosmetology
These fruits have many benefits that make them good for skin and hair. The flesh of bananas can replace many expensive cosmetics. Here are some ways to apply these exotics in cosmetology:
- Having antibacterial properties, they help get rid of acne and spots on the face (a mask of banana, milk, a pinch of nutmeg, oatmeal is suitable).
- Banana puree, applied for 20 minutes on the face, will help restore radiance and a healthy pink color to the skin.
- If you crush the crumb and mix with sugar, and then apply this mixture on your hands, you can get rid of roughness and soften the skin on the palms of your hands. This scrub is suitable for the face.
- A mask of banana and yogurt will help prevent hair loss and restore shine.
- These yellow fruits will also help get rid of dandruff. It is enough to mix 2 bananas with 2 tablespoons of honey and rub this mixture into the scalp. This remedy also helps restore shine to dry and damaged hair.
Bananas are one of the most consumed fruits on the planet. Perhaps, all over the world this fruit is known as extremely rich in potassium. Although in fact it contains many other equally useful components and also in high concentration.