A little more than two decades ago, while I was in service with the premier Public Sector Organization –LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA- there was an occasion to stay in Taj hotel at Mumbai along with my colleague Shri Akbar Ali.
As we went for our lunch we were attracted by a special menu-BANANA FLOWER USLI- and as we ordered and the dish came we were shocked to find a 50gram side dish known as the title of this story shown above at a cost of Rs250?-!!!!
Almost twice a month we do this called வாழைப்பூ உசிலி- (vaazaippoo usili) in our home may be the family requirement of 400 grams at a cost less than rs.25!!!!!!!!!!!
Having ordered we could not return and we took it with a pinch of salt as it was not even one tenth of the taste our people prepare at home!
We know that banana is one of the best vegetables created by the Lord Almighty for the benefit of all living beings- humans and animals. Every part of a plantain tree- banana tree- is of great use in one way or the other.
Its Roots, stem, leaves, banana ripe or otherwise, flower- every part is of use to the people. How nice if only every part of every individual human being is of positive use, help and service to every other individual. The society will be enjoying peace and harmony, poise and prosperity, health and happiness!
Let us have a look at the plantain.
Bananas are good for our heart. They are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that keeps electricity flowing throughout our body, which is required to keep our heart beating. Bananas’ high potassium and low sodium content may also help protect our cardiovascular system against high blood pressure.
A 2017 animal study conducted by researchers found that the potassium in bananas is also linked to arterial effectiveness; the more potassium we have, the less likely our arteries are to harden. In the study, mice with lower-potassium diet had harder arteries than mice consuming a normal amount of potassium. Arterial stiffness in humans is linked to heart disease.
Depression and mood
Bananas can be helpful in overcoming depression “due to high levels of tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter,” vitamin B6 can help our sleep well, and magnesium helps to relax muscles. Additionally, the tryptophan in bananas is well known for its sleep-inducing properties.
Digestion and weight loss
Bananas are high in fiber, which can help keep us regular. One banana can provide nearly 10 percent of our daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6 can also help protect against type 2 diabetesand aid in weight loss. In general, bananas are a great weight loss food because they taste sweet and are filling, which helps curb cravings.
Bananas are particularly high in resistant starch, a form of dietary fiber in bananas may support gut health and control blood sugar. Resistant starch increases the production of short chain fatty acids in the gut, which are necessary to gut health.
For replenishing energy and electrolytes, bananas can be more effective than sports drinks. One looked at male athletes competing in long-distance cycling races. They compared athletes refueling with Gatorade every 15 minutes to athletes refueling with a banana and water. The athletes’ performance times and body physiology were the same in both cases. But the banana’s serotonin and dopamine improved the athletes’ antioxidant capacity and helped with oxidative stress, improving performance overall.
Carrots may get all the glory for helping our eyes, but bananas do their share as well. The fruits contain significant amount of vitamin A, which is essential for protecting our eyes, maintaining normal vision and improving vision at night. Vitamin A contains compounds that preserve the membranes around our eyes and are an element in the proteins that bring light to our corneas. Like other fruits, bananas can help prevent macular degeneration, an incurable condition, which blurs central vision.
Calcium in bananas is helpful in keeping bones strong.Bananas contain an abundance of fructooligosaccharides. These are non digestive carbohydrates that encourage digestive-friendly probotics and enhance the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Some evidence suggests that moderate consumption of bananas may be protective against kidney cancer. Women who ate more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables cut their risk of kidney cancer by 40 percent, and that bananas were especially effective. Women eating four to six bananas a week halved their risk of developing kidney cancer.
Bananas may be helpful in preventing kidney cancer because of their high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
The potassium in bananas is correlated with women giving birth to baby boys. A study looked at 740 women and saw that those who consumed high levels of potassium prior to conception were more likely to have a boy that those who did not.
Bananas may also help prevent gestational diabetes. Lack of sleep during pregnancy can contribute to gestational diabetes.. But the magnesium and tryptophan in bananas can help ensure a good night’s rest.
Banana peels: edible or poisonous?
It turns out that the biggest risk from a banana peel might really be slipping on it. Banana peels are not poisonous. In fact, they’re edible, and packed with nutrients. “Banana peel is eaten in many parts of the world. “It contains high amounts of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some fiber and protein.”
It is important to carefully wash a banana peel before eating it due to the pesticides that may be sprayed in banana groves.
Banana peels are usually served cooked, boiled or fried, though they can be eaten raw or put in a blender with other fruits. They are not as sweet as banana flesh. Riper peels will be sweeter than unripe ones.
Other banana facts
Bananas may have been the world’s first cultivated fruit. The banana plant is classified as an arborescent (tree-like) perennial herb, and the banana itself is considered a berry. A bunch of bananas is called a hand; a single banana is a finger.
There are almost 1,000 varieties of bananas, Nearly all the bananas sold in stores are cloned from just one variety,
Botanically, there is no difference between plantains and bananas. But in general use, “banana” refers to the sweeter form of the fruit, which is often eaten uncooked, while “plantain” refers to a starchier fruit that is often cooked before eating.
(Technical information from Google Guru)
Tamil Nadu is to become the number one area in the world in banana production beating Ecuador and Indonesia if post-harvest losses were cut down and more marketing efforts were taken.
Areas in Tamil Nadu where banana is prominently cultivated are Theni, Trichy, Erode, Thoothukudi, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur and Dindigul. The varieties cultivated include Grand Naine, Virupakshi, Sirumalai, Rasthali, poovan and Red Banana. Most of the bananas produced here go to the Gulf countries.
Raw banana is used for preparing different side dishes – in Tamil parlance- poriyal, koottu, varuval and so on!
Similarly the stem- known as vaazhaith thaNdu- is used for pachadi, porial and koottu. When its juice is taken regularly, no question of stones in kidney, urinary track etc.
Nendhram variety from Kerala – raw or ripe- is known for making chips all over the country!
Coming back to our banana flower usli, here we find the banana flower ready to be cooked. Last Sunday we had at home that triggered my thoughts and the result is today’s Sunday story that was presented above.