The banana flower is usually considered a byproduct of banana cultivation. However, banana flower uses as indigenous food and traditional medicine is tremendous, though it is treated as agricultural waste.
Banana flower is known as banana blossom, banana heart or plantain too. It grows from the end of the bunch of bananas and dark purple in colour. The banana flower is drop-shaped with cream coloured florets layers in the inner part.
The banana flower has tremendous nutritional and therapeutic values. It has been used as a traditional medicine to treat various illnesses such as constipation, dysentery, ulcer, diabetes and bronchitis as well as helpful in menstrual cramps.
Apart from the medicinal uses, the flower is also used as a vegetable by people from several parts of the world. Hence for this reason banana flowers are known as Banana hearts too.
Banana flower uses and their health benefits are very varied and so it should be taken into account when deciding on a diet plan. Despite having some wonderful health benefits, it is still underrated in most of the countries of the world.
Let’s take a look.
The banana plant is nature’s gift. All parts of a banana plant can be used to serve some purpose, either as food or other non-food purposes. Banana fruit is one of the most commonly consumed fruits in the world because of its taste, nutritional value and potential health benefits.
Apart from the fruit banana flower (banana blossom) has the potential as a superfood due to its high nutritional and medicinal values. There is a myriad of health benefits of the banana flower, from curing diabetes to boosting gastrointestinal health to weight loss; this is simply amazing for your health. It is used in many cuisines especially in India and Southeast Asian countries.
The major bioactive compounds found in banana flowers are glycosides, tannins, saponins, phenols, steroids, and flavonoids responsible for their therapeutic value.
Here in this article, we will take a look at the nutritional values and banana flower uses for the benefits of health.
Banana Flower Nutrition
As per the African Journal of Biotechnology, 100g of banana flower offers the below-mentioned nutrition.
- Energy: 51 kcal
- Protein: 1.6 gm
- Fat: 0.6 gm
- Carbohydrate: 9.9 gm
- Fiber: 5.7 gm
- Calcium: 56 mg
- Phosphorous: 73.3 mg
- Iron: 56.4 mg
- Copper: 13 mg
- Potassium: 553.3 mg
- Magnesium: 48.7mg
- Vitamin E: 1.07mg
Health Benefits of Banana Flower
Being an excellent source of fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals like phosphorus potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium, the banana flower has great health benefits.
Here are the 9 amazing banana flowers uses for the health benefits that you should know.
1.Helpful in diabetes
The banana flower contains phenolic acids and other bioactive compounds, which promote glucose uptake and consecutively reduces blood sugar levels.
Banana flowers are fibre rich potent antioxidant foods with low glycemic index value. Therefore, they may serve as a beneficial health food supplement for diabetic individuals.
Research shows that consumption of banana flowers regularly for about a month helps lower your blood sugar level.
It is a rich source of iron that raises the haemoglobin level in your body as well.
2. Lowers menstrual bleeding
In traditional medicine, banana flowers have been utilized to treat excessive blood loss during the menstrual cycle.
The banana flower regulates the progesterone hormone of your body that in turn reduce the painful bleeding. It is helpful to lower the muscle cramps too.
Besides it also contains magnesium that can improve your mood and reduce anxiety during your period. Banana flowers may help women who are suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) as well.
3. Increase the milk production in lactating mothers
Eating banana flowers increases milk production in lactating mothers. Therefore, it can be a blessing for new mothers who face problems breastfeeding their newborns.
4. Good for gastrointestinal health
The banana flower is a rich source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. Both types of dietary fibres are needed for proper digestion and absorption of food in the gastrointestinal tract. These dietary fibres help people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhoea.
The soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel, which allows food to pass easily through the digestive tract.
On the other hand, the insoluble fibre bulks up the undigested waste products, and thus helps people suffering from constipation.
Include banana flowers in your regular diet plan to keep your stomach healthy.
5. Heals wounds and ulcers
Ulcers are the wounds alongside the intestinal linings. Vitamin C plays an important role in promoting tissue repair and wound healing.
Banana flower is a good source of vitamin C and helps people suffering from ulcers. The flowers aid in ulcer management by neutralizing the gastric juices and reducing ulcer irritation.
6. Helps to treat Cancers
Banana flowers are rich in phytochemicals like vitamins, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and protein, which exhibit significant antioxidant properties. The antioxidant properties of banana flower extract scavenge the free radical and prevent cell and tissue damage.
Several studies reported anticancer activities of banana flower extracts. It can be used as a chemo-preventive agent for cervical cancer, colon cancer and Ehrlich ascites tumour cells.
Studies suggested that the banana flower can serve as a very good natural source for the development of an anticancer lead molecule with the least side effects.
7. Helpful in infection treatment
Research shows that the banana flower exhibits antibacterial and antimicrobial activities. The bioactive compound malic acid found in banana flowers shows antibacterial activities against bacteria like Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, and Escherichia coli.
The extract of Banana flowers found to be very useful for naturally treating various infections. The juice of the banana flower helps in healing wounds and burn faster.
The flowers can be used for the treatment of bronchitis, constipation and peptic ulcer as well.
8. Boost mental energy and reduces anxiety
Banana flowers can boost mood in every person especially in kids who have mood swings and are anxious by nature.
It can act as a remedy for mentally imbalanced kids who suffer from bouts of anxiety as it reduces the feelings of anxiety.
Besides fighting against infections, the banana flower can prevent the malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum from growing and developing in the body as well.
The anxiety-reducing property of the banana flower is attributed to the fact that it contains a good amount of magnesium. Magnesium acts as an antidepressant without any side effects.
9. Helpful in weight loss
Since the banana flowers are rich in fibre, it gives a sated feeling for a longer period, so it is very useful to lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
Adding banana blossom to your meal in soup, salad, curry, or any other form can assist in weight loss.
Banana Flower Recipe
Banana flower uses in the preparation of a variety of traditional curries finds special attention in the culinary world recently.
They are part of many cuisines in Southeast Asian countries and especially India. Banana flowers can be eaten raw as well as cooked form. In Ayurvedic cooking in India banana flower finds an important place as well.
Banana flower is extensively used in many Indian cuisines especially south Indian, Bengali and Assamese recipes.
In South Indian cuisine, it is mostly used in curries, soups, fritters, stir-fried or fried dishes. They cook the banana flower (vazhai poo) as a poriyal (dry curry), kootu (with lentils as gravy) and a paruppu usili (with ground lentils).
In Assam, Banana-based recipes have been an integral part of Assamese cuisine and its food cultural diversity.
The Assamese people called the banana flower ‘Koldil’. They make ‘Koldil bhaji’ by peeling banana flowers and cutting them into small pieces and fried with potato cubes in a little amount of oil. Sometimes the ‘koldil’ is mixed with pre-cooked dal and other spices and fried till it is done to a thick gravy.
The koldil is also used to make various non-vegetarian dishes traditionally. ‘Koldil manxo’ is prepared using country chicken and pigeon meat with shredded banana flowers until it turns into tender meat and hearty gravy.
Bengal is particularly fond of ‘mocha’, as the banana flower is called there. Bengalis stuff the banana flower into a potato patty-type thing and deep-fry it as ‘mocha chop’.
Side Effects of Banana Flower
There is no scientific data to work out the side effects and drug interactions of banana flowers.
The banana flower has the potential to be regarded as a functional food or superfood due to its high nutrient content and great therapeutic value.
Despite being such a wonder food it is still underrated in most of the countries of the world. Increasing the awareness about banana flower uses and their health benefits will not only reduce banana waste but will also help people to reap its health benefits.
However, recently it is gaining the attention of the health and food industry as well as food science. It can be used in diets in the form of dehydrated flour and can be easily incorporated into food formulations.
Several branded canned Banana Blossoms are available online. You can buy a range of Canned Organic Banana Blossom here at amazon.