12 Health Benefits of Eating a Banana Flower that Most People Don’t Know About

6. Improves kidney function The kidneys are one of the body’s vital organs. The body has 2 fist-sized kidneys which look like beans, with one situated… Simi - June 3, 2018

6. Improves kidney function

The kidneys are one of the body’s vital organs. The body has 2 fist-sized kidneys which look like beans, with one situated on either side of the spine, just below the rib cage. Each day, our kidneys filter between 120 and 150 quarts of blood. In the process, they produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine a day. This urine is composed of waste products and excess fluid. The urine moves from the kidneys to the bladder via the ureters, which are two narrow tubes on either side of the bladder.

The bladder stores the urine until full when it sends a signal to the brain that tells us to use the bathroom. The urine exits the body via the urethra, which is another narrow tube, this time running from the bladder to outside the body. Nobody can function without kidneys unless they are on dialysis. Without kidneys, waste and excess fluids would build up and poison the body.

The kidneys also regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and help keep bones healthy, produce essential hormones, and keep electrolyte levels stable. In other words, our kidneys are vital for our bodies to work correctly. The good news is that the banana flower has benefits for the kidneys as well. Before they have ripened, consume young banana flowers as a remedy for painful kidney stones. A traditional remedy is to cook the flowers and stem of the banana and drink as a bowl of soup for two weeks.

This is said to help to dissolve kidney stones completely. Banana flowers also have a preventive effect on the kidneys. It turns out that regular consumption of these tasty blossoms can prevent kidney and urinary problems. Conditions such as cystitis are said to respond well to the addition of banana flowers to the diet.

7. Treats stomach and digestive problems

Another area of the body that benefits from the banana flower is the stomach and the rest of the digestive system. Many people suffer from debilitating digestive issues that make their lives a misery. If you are one of those people, you might benefit from consuming banana flowers. Banana flowers are alkaline, instead of acid, meaning they efficiently neutralize gastric (stomach) juices. They can give relief from acid indigestion, and reduce ulcer irritation and pain. Anyone suffering from constipation can get relief from a soup made from banana flowers. The high fiber and nutrient content of the blossoms act as a natural laxative, with no need to resort to pharmaceuticals.

If you suffer from bloating, it might be a good idea to try eating banana flowers. If they don’t have the desired effect, consult your healthcare provider. Constant bloating can be a symptom of more severe problems. Like ginger, banana flowers acts against nausea and vomiting, making them an excellent choice for pregnant women in the early weeks of pregnancy. Be sure to check with your doctor before consuming new things when you are pregnant.

You can prepare delicious sour banana flower soup. Soak 3 cups of thinly-sliced, inner banana flowers in water and lime. In a soup pot, bring 3 cups of water, 1 can of chicken broth, and 2 smashed cloves of garlic to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of kroeung with garlic and galangal in it, and 1 tablespoon of tamarind powder.

Then add the drained banana flowers, ½ sliced red bell pepper, and ½ sliced yellow bell pepper. Cook until the flowers are soft. Then add 1 tablespoon of prahok, 8 ounces of tilapia or other white fish (you can use dried fish instead), a splash of fish sauce to taste and cook until it’s done. Add a handful of holy basil before serving with rice and sliced fresh chilies, if desired.

8. Helps treat depression

While we’re all familiar with feeling down and not being interested in doing much, when this feeling starts to interfere with our lives in a big way, it might be classed as depression. Depression, anxiety, and stress affect millions of people the world over. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that depression is the world’s most common illness and the leading cause of debility around the globe.

The organization estimate that around 350 million people are affected by depression and America is far from immune. In fact, the CDC has said that 7.6 % of people over the age of 12 experience depression in any 2-week period. Women appear to suffer from depression more than men, but the reasons for this are not fully understood. Scientists do not yet know what the causes of depression are, but they are likely to be a mixture of psychosocial, biological, genetic and environmental factors.

The symptoms of depression are many and varied. Obviously, they include a depressed mood, but also a lack of pleasure in things that the person once enjoyed. There is often a loss of sexual desire, and perhaps unintentional weight loss or lack of appetite. Occasionally, the opposite will occur, and the person will overeat.  A person suffering from depression will often suffer from insomnia or its opposite, hypersomnia, where they sleep too much. They might also be agitated or restless and might pace up and down. In contrast to an agitated state, they might display psychomotor retardation, in which they move and speak slowly, and appear low in energy.

There might be feelings of worthlessness or guilt, inability to concentrate or make decisions, and recurring thoughts or attempts at suicide and death. The good news is that for mild depression, banana flowers might help because of their high magnesium content. And there are no nasty side-effects!

9. Deals with constipation

Constipation affects many people at some time in their lives. What constipation means, however, differs from person to person. For some, it means passing stool (feces) infrequently. For others, it might mean hard stools that are difficult to pass, causing straining, or a sense that a bowel movement has been incomplete. If constipation alternates with diarrhea, it could signal irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The number of bowel movements per day differs from person to person and usually decreases with age.

Most common is one bowel movement per day, but this occurs in less than 50% of people. Most people are irregular, and it is relatively common not to have a bowel movement on some days. Doctors define constipation as fewer than three bowel movements a week. If it is severe, it is less than one bowel movement per week. Constipation can be acute, where onset is recent, or chronic, where you have experienced it over an extended period. Acute constipation needs to be assessed by a doctor to rule out any serious underlying causes.

See a doctor if you have constipation accompanied by abdominal pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting, rectal bleeding and unexplained weight loss. You can deal with chronic constipation by taking a few simple measures. Because banana flowers are high in fiber, consuming them regularly, along with other fiber-rich foods, can bring relief from constipation.

Avoid processed foods such as products containing refined white flour, and instead, choose vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice. Try incorporating banana flowers into your diet in whatever form you like. Try a curry, stir fry or soup, or simply treat the heart of the flower like you would an artichoke and consume as a vegetable.

10. Deals with infection and inflammation

Inflammation is a process by which the body attempts to protect itself by removing harmful or irritating stimuli and beginning the process of healing. As part of the body’s immune response, the inflammation response helps to heal the body from infections, tissue damage, and wounds. Inflammation can be beneficial when you injure your foot, for example, and the body rallies all its resources to heal the wound.

Sometimes, though, inflammation lasts longer than necessary and is no longer of benefit. In fact, chronic (long-term) inflammation can lead to various diseases such as some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis. In the case of acute (recent onset) inflammation of the skin, the symptoms may include pain, redness, immobility, swelling, and heat. If inflammation occurs inside the body, such as in an internal organ, many of these symptoms might not be noticeable.

Inflammation can be caused by various physical responses that are triggered by the immune system as it responds to an infection or a bodily injury. Although infection can cause inflammation, if inflammation is present, it doesn’t always mean there is an infection. Some examples of diseases or conditions that can cause acute inflammation include infective meningitis, an infected ingrown toenail, acute bronchitis and a scratch on the skin.

Chronic inflammation is more long-term than acute and can last months or years. Some of the conditions and diseases that involve chronic inflammation include periodontitis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, asthma, chronic peptic ulcer, tuberculosis (TB), sinusitis, some cancers, atherosclerosis, and hay fever. The good news is that, if consumed regularly, banana flowers can help to deal with infections and inflammation. If eaten in combination with turmeric and ginger, the effect is even more powerful. Turmeric is currently under investigation for its impact on various inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger has been used for centuries to treat many conditions and can help with the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

11. Helps prevent aging

One of the theories of aging is the Free Radical Theory. To explain this, we need to go back to the chemistry books. Ordinary, ordinary atoms and molecules (groups of atoms) have a balanced number of electrons. Electrons are minute, negatively-charged sub-atomic particles that usually exist in pairs. When in pairs, you can achieve balance so that the atom or molecule is stable and not highly reactive. Free radicals have unbalanced, unpaired electrons that move around looking for electrons to remove from other molecules. In the process, they cause damage to the body.

Free radicals steal electrons from molecules such as proteins and the DNA in our skin, causing stress to the cells and damage. The accumulation of damage is, according to the theory, what causes aging. Free radicals can be found all over the place, including inside the body as the result of normal processes. However, being exposed to external factors such as UV rays from the sun, pollution and smoking result in the production of a lot more free radicals.

Oxidative stress occurs when the level of free radicals present is too high for the body to defend itself. The body’s natural defense products are called antioxidants. Antioxidants work by giving free radicals the extra electrons they need so that the free radicals don’t take electrons from other places we need them. But it is not only our bodies that produce antioxidants.

We also carry in other natural antioxidants in our diet. One example is vitamin C, which is present in high levels in the banana flower, as well as in citrus fruit and leafy greens. Banana flowers also contain other powerful antioxidants such as tannins and flavonoids. These antioxidants relieve conditions of stress in the cells of the body. They also slow down the aging process, thus preventing premature aging.

12. Fights overweight

Obesity is a growing problem around the world, and America has what can be called an obesity epidemic. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly 40% of American adults and almost 20% of teenagers are obese. These are the highest rates ever recorded. They also said that in spite of various public health campaigns aimed at improving nutrition and increasing physical activity, Americans are just getting fatter.

One of the most worrying things is how the obesity crisis is affecting young people in the States. Obesity is not just overweight. It is medically-defined as having a body-mass index (BMI) over 30. You can see that 1 in 5 teens aged 12 to 19, 1 in 5 kids aged 6 to 11, and 1 in 10 pre-schoolers aged 2 to 5 are obese. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that childhood obesity is soaring across the globe, has increased tenfold over the past 40 years.

The saying that fat children make fat adults is true. Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to remain that way into adulthood and risk early death. Altogether, over 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese, so that an unhealthy weight is now the ‘new normal.’ Americans with a normal BMI of 25 or under are now in the minority. And the crisis continues to worsen. The biggest culprits in this obesity epidemic appear to be lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. People are doing less and less physical activity as part of their normal days, and hundreds of tempting, new and unhealthy processed foods grow all the time.

If you are trying to lose weight, it turns out that banana flowers might be just what you’re looking for. Because they contain lots of fiber, they keep you fuller for longer, sating the appetite, and providing many essential nutrients without thousands of calories.