By Agnes Kyotalengerire
Many people eat bananas simply because they are sweet. But did you know that they are loaded with nutrients?
Nutritionists say bananas are rich in potassium, fibre, iron, zinc, sodium, carbohydrates as well as vitamins B6, A, C, B1, B2 and E.
Geoffrey Babughirana, a dietician at World Vision, recommends that men, especially, take three small-size bananas or one medium-size bogoya (cavendish) daily.
He says the black tiny seeds in the midrib are rich in zinc and Vitamin E, which boost men’s sexual ability, sperm count and sperm speed.
Unripe bananas primarily contain starch. “As bananas ripen, the starch converts in to sugars such as glucose and fructose,” explains Munirah Mbabazi, a nutrition consultant at Nutrisat Uganda.
She says bananas replenish energy and revitalise the body.
Mbabazi also recommends bananas for athletes because they provide instant energy. She adds that banana can be used in the treatment plan for underweight children.
“The potassium and sodium content in bananas regulates the body’s water balance. The more potassium one has, the more fluid there is in the body, hence preventing dehydration,” observes, Alex Mukori, a nutritionist. “For instance, if one has diarrhoea and takes bananas, they help replace the lost fluid.”
Bananas are also excellent stress busters, due to their high potassium content, Mukori explains.
Because of their soft pulp that is easily digestible, bananas are good for managing intestinal and liver-related disorders like inflammation of the stomach walls.
Babughirana observes that the soluble dietary fibre contained in bananas reduces constipation and helps restore normal bowel movement.
He also recommends bananas for patients with ulcer because the fruit helps neutralise excess stomach acid, thus protecting the stomach lining.
Babughirana, however, discourages unripe bananas because they contain significant amounts of starch that causes flatulence (gas accumulation in the stomach) and indigestion.
A diet rich in bananas increases the absorption of iron and allows production of collagen, a component that builds body tissues due to the high Vitamin C content. The Vitamin E in bananas helps enhance a smooth skin, healthy heart and hair.
Banana jam recipe
Instead of throwing away bananas that have over-ripened, you can make jam with them.
Ingredients (for 1kg)
-1 kg of ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
-5 tablespoons of lemon juice
-750g of sugar
-3 cinnamon sticks (I inch) for flavour
Put the bananas in a pan, add cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and boil. Then let content simmer until banana is soft, stirring occasionally. Add sugar in small amounts stirring until dissolved. Then boil, skimming any froth from top.
Then rapidly cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, until the content thickens. This process will approximately take one hour. Remove and set aside to cool. Remove cinnamon sticks and store in a jar.
Compiled by Agnes Kyotalengerire