Bananas are perhaps one of the most popular fruits of all. Yet, not many might know that most other parts of the banana plant are edible too. In fact, they are not just edible but also offer fascinating medicinal benefits! Read on to learn about the edible parts of the banana plant, reasons to include them in your meal, ways to consume them, and a few interesting facts.
1. Banana stem
Banana stem is the part of the plant that looks like a tree trunk. The outer layer is a fibrous green sheath that is generally removed to reveal a core which is the edible part of the stem.
Benefits of banana stem:
- One of the most important benefits of this banana stem is its ability to treat kidney stones. Regular intake of the banana stem as a part of your diet in the form of a vegetable dish (try to include the fibrous part) can help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Also, drinking banana stem juice can clear kidney stones from the body effectively.
- Regularly consuming banana stem juice aids in weight loss, treats UTI(urinary tract infection), relieves heartburn and acidity and also gently detoxes the body.
- It can also help keep cholesterol levels in check.
Preparing banana stem juice:
To prepare banana stem juice, chop the stem and then blend it with water. If you find it hard to drink the extremely fibrous juice, you can strain it before consuming.
Warning: Do not consume banana stem juice for indefinite periods as it is highly potent and may result in unwanted side effects such as loose stools.
2. Banana leaf
The banana leaf is a part of the plant that is not edible in itself but can be used as a “plate” to serve food.
Benefits of eating food out of a banana leaf:
- Helps absorb the inherent nutritional and medicinal properties of the leaf
- Also, enhances the nutrient profile of the food being served
- In addition, it adds to the taste! It might not be easy to believe, but when you eat food on a banana leaf, an irresistible flavour is added to your food.
Besides, using leaves as plates to serve meals tends to be eco-friendly, economical and hygienic too.
3. Banana flower
The banana flower is yet another edible part of the plant that has incredible medicinal benefits. The florets are to be taken out by removing the hard petals one by one, and keep going till you reach the core. You can then use the florets to prepare a dish of your choice, such as Indian-style stir fry or chutney, or perhaps a Thai-style salad!
Benefits of banana flower:
- Promote menstrual health
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Enhance breast milk production
- Reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer
- Help deal with anxiety and depression
- Improve the health of the skin
Caution: Again, it is a highly potent food and should not be consumed often; once or twice a month will be sufficient. Moreover, it can be daunting to prepare a dish using the banana flower.
4. Unripe banana
The green or raw banana is what matures to become the delicious sweet fruit we know.
Raw bananas are one of the edible parts of banana plant and are good news for people with diabetes.
People with diabetes can opt for these unripe bananas, which have a similar nutrient profile as the ripe bananas minus the sugar content. So, you get to enjoy the health benefits of eating a banana without having to suffer the negative effects attributed to its sweetness.
Some of the health benefits of green bananas are,
- Good for digestive health
- Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Enables weight loss
- Promotes cardiovascular health
5. Banana fruit
This well-known edible part of the banana plant is a crowd favourite, no doubt, and you might be eating it regularly already. Ripe banana is rich in potassium and magnesium and also contains high amounts of Vitamin B6 and B12.
Such a nutrient profile translates to providing a host of health benefits including, but not limited to,
- Protecting the cardiovascular system
- Elevating mood
- Aid in digestion and promote weight loss
- Preserving bone health
Interestingly, even banana peels are edible and healthy! But it will not be as tasty as the fruit, though.
Interested in knowing some interesting facts about the banana plant? Check the below image.
As can be seen, the banana plant is one incredible gift of nature. Incorporate these immensely beneficial edible parts of the banana plant into your diet to enjoy lasting health!