Friday, June 07, 2024

Banana Benefits: Nutritional Powerhouse from Peel to Pulp

Bananas, one of the most popular fruits globally, are composed of two main parts: the peel and the pulp. The peel, which is a significant by-product, constitutes about 40% of the fruit's total weight. While often discarded, the peel contains a wealth of nutrients and bioactive compounds. However, it is the banana pulp, the edible portion, that is renowned for its nutritional richness.

Banana pulp is a powerhouse of nutrients, containing 72% moisture, 2.9% total fiber, 1.4% protein, 1.28% ash, and other compounds such as 14.4% sucrose, 8.5% vitamin C, and 2.4% glucose. It is also a notable source of pro-vitamin A, especially in dessert bananas with orange or yellow pulp, which are higher in carotenoids. These nutrients contribute to the fruit’s high nutritional value and health benefits.

Rich in potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, bananas are particularly beneficial for skin and hair health. Potassium helps in moisturizing and nourishing dry skin and hair, while vitamins C and B6 support collagen production and hair strength, respectively. Additionally, banana pulp and peel are replete with phenolics, carotenoids, flavonoids, biogenic amines, phytosterols, and other phytochemicals. These compounds endow bananas with a higher antioxidant capacity than many berries, herbs, and vegetables.

The versatility of banana pulp allows it to be used in a variety of functional food products. Some of these include banana flour, banana bread, banana chips, banana muffins, banana wine, and extruded products. Banana flour, in particular, is noted for its health benefits. It is used to relieve diarrhea and prevent digestive diseases due to its high fiber content, which also helps prevent constipation. Green and ripe banana pulp flour are especially rich in protein and vitamin C, making them excellent dietary supplements.

In culinary applications, banana flour can be used in snacks and other recipes, providing a good source of fiber and essential nutrients. As the demand for functional foods continues to rise, the utilization of banana pulp in various food products highlights its potential as a valuable ingredient in promoting health and nutrition. Thus, bananas, beyond their delicious taste, offer numerous benefits that extend from the kitchen to overall wellness.
Banana Benefits: Nutritional Powerhouse from Peel to Pulp

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