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B for Banana | A to Z of Indian Foods

In this article, let’s look at  B for Banana!

Banana, a beloved fruit across classes, across the globe, is the second most important fruit crop in India after Mango. Banana is said to be the first fruit of the world. This means that we, as humans, have been eating Bananas longer than anything else. This means that Bananas have been providing us with energy and nutrition for centuries now. This explains our innate love for this humble fruit!

Now its origin is a little unclear. There is evidence that it comes from Papua New Guinea or the Philippines and then there is some evidence that suggests it originates from India. Irrespective of this, what we do know for sure, is that the Bananas we know and eat today, i.e. Musa acuminata evolved and grew once it’s reached the tropical climates in India and other South East Asian countries.

Banana also plays a role in our traditions. It is given to the Gods, it is considered important and the plant itself is worshipped in some communities.

Read on to know why this simple fruit has been given this high status in India.

Banana Khushboo Jain Tibrewala Nutritionist
English Name



Common Indian Names

Kela, Elaichi, Yelakki, Velchi Kela, Laal Kela, Nendran

How we eat it
      1. As a whole fruit
      2. In a salad
      3. In a smoothie
      4. Raw versions as tikkis, in undhiyo, as chips
      5. As a sweetener in cakes
      6. Plantain is used in curries
      7. Mangalore buns
Claim to fame

Banana plants are precious because literally, every part of the plant is useful. The stems are cooked, pickled and used as a cooking vessel, the leaves are used as a base to serve food on and for steam cooking, the flower is both eaten and worshipped, and the fruit is obviously extremely popular and nutritious.

Health Benefits
      1. Banana is rich in potassium, making it great for heart health
      2. Banana is also rich in magnesium, making it excellent for those Monday blues, pre-menstrual mood swings and post-workout muscle recovery
      3. Banana contains pyridoxine (vitamin B6) which is fantastic for nerve function
      4. Bananas are easy to digest, they give an instant boost in energy. Making them a great food for sick days.
      5. Banana is a unique food which works well for both constipation and diarrhea. They can restore normal bowel function no matter what your condition is.
      6. Banana is an excellent hangover remedy. They calm your gut, improve mood, restore electrolyte balance and increase sugar levels.
      7. A very interesting fact about Bananas is their impact on mood. They contain an amino acid called tryptophan. This amino acid is one of the few things that can cross the “blood-brain barrier” (the other one being glucose). Here, tryptophan is converted to serotonin – the happy hormone! This is probably why we feel uplifted and chirpy after eating a banana.
      8. Raw banana is rich in resistant starch. This starch is food for the good bacteria in your gut, leading to better overall gut health, which leads to better overall health.
What makes it so special for diabetics

People with Diabetes are often scared of Bananas, assuming that they are “fattening” or bad for blood glucose levels. When you look at their overall impact and glycemic index, however, you see a very different picture.

This study tested the GI of elaichi banana, regular banana and red banana. As you can see, all 3 were between 40-45, i.e. low glycemic index.

Understand Glycemic Index, here

Also, as mentioned above, Raw Banana is rich in resistant starch. This has a positive impact on insulin sensitivity and food habits as resistant starch increases the good bacteria population in your gut.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, it can get confusing and intimidating to figure out a diet that works. You can start your health journey with these simple changes or you can sign up for my one-on-one diabetes reversal program.

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