Six interesting facts about bananas

There are many untrue theories about bananas but nobody knows who created them. On the other hand, there are many interesting facts about these fruits that nobody seems to have heard of. It's worth getting to know bananas better because they have interesting features with practical use. Do you want to know more? Enjoy this article.

Bananas are one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world

The history of bananas cultivation is six thousand years long and starts at Malay Peninsula (Asia). From that place they came to India, where their flavour and nutritious value were appreciated. The historical sources claim that even Alexander the Great was fascinated by the taste of these fruits during his expedition to India, which took place in the 3rd century BC. Bananas were also brought to Africa by the Arab army in the 7th century. Another important date in the bananas' history is the 16th century, when a Spanish missionary Tomas de Berlanga brought them to the Carribean Islands, from where they got to the South America. In Europe they have been known for only 150 years.

Bananas can be eaten during slimming

Bananas are perceived as a highly calorific snack. Dietitians, doctors and trainers often forbid eating them by people on diet frightening them with the calories and high glycemic index. Indeed, comparing to other fruits, such as apples or mandarins, the energy value seems high, because it is about 100kcal per 100g of edible part of product (to compare with 40-50kcal per 100g for apples and mandarins). However, comparing to carbohydrate products which are often recommended, such as rice or groats, bananas look very favourably, because they are few times less calorific (rice and groats supply about 320-360kcal in 100g).
Also the bananas glycemic index (according to the tables) is close to that of brown rice, and the glycemic load of bananas is almost half of that value (in reality the glycemic response may differ after eating bananas depending on the maturity of these fruits, but it will be explained further in this article). So, what's it all about?
Taking under consideration the calorific content, energy density, glycemic index and load, it has to be admitted that if brown rice can be eaten, bananas can be eaten, too, also during body fat reduction! It's just worth counting their presence in calorific balance.

There are two kinds of bananas - both are valuable

There is a common conviction that in Asia, Africa and South America people eat "real bananas" and the bananas that come to our country are only some replacements that can be easily given to pigs. In fact, there are two kinds of bananas, and they can be divided into plantains and dessert bananas. The first group is eaten by local people after thermal treatment, the latter - are exported. Plantains are less "functional" because they need to be processed before eating. It's not that the dessert bananas are just "worthless copies of the original" as some sceptics suggest.

Resistant starch from bananas influences the metabolic system in a good way

Bananas have one, usually omitted, value - they are the source of a component which has very interesting functional properties. This component is resistant starch (the one that does not give in our digestive enzymes) present in -this is important - unripe bananas. Research shows that including this component in a diet for diabetics, or for people with metabolic syndrome may contribute to:

  • lowering fastening glucose,
  • lowering blood pressure,
  • lowering hips circumstance.

Additionally, resistant starch may be a good food for probiotic bacteria from our digestive tract and it may make the bowel movement faster for people suffering from constipation. I have to say it again - this component can be found in unripe, greenish bananas, and not those yellow or brown on top.

Both banana ends are edible

It's really hard to say what is the origin of the theory which states that the ends of banana pulp are inedible because of parasites which are a threat to our bodies. It's definitely not true. Although lamblia parasite (Giardia lamblia), really exists, and it may be life threatening, removing and throwing away the banana ends is not necessary. There are no lamblias inside bananas. It's much easier to find them on unwashed strawberries...

Bananas are a great after workout snack

People who, intuitively or for their convenience, take a banana after workout, make a very good choice. These fruits are a good source of carbs (glucose, fructose, saccharose and starch). They also supply a big portion of potassium (one fruit contains about 500-600mg of this element). Potassium is a base-forming mineral, it takes part in the water-electrolite regulation of the body, and, additionally, it's anticatabolic. Bananas contain a lot of vitamin B6, too, which is a part of amino acids transformations process. It's good to complete a portion of this fruit with a portion of proteins, e.g. drinking a supplement protein cocktail.