Banana flower, also known as banana blossom or banana heart, is a large, purple teardrop-shaped plant that grows at the end of a banana fruit cluster. While it’s far less common than banana fruit, banana flower is edible and considered a delicacy with lots of health benefits.
It is a highly nutritious and versatile food that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and is commonly used in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine.
Banana flower contains nutrients protein, fibre, and carbohydrates), minerals (sodium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc), and compounds (quercetin, catechin, phenols, saponins, and tannins).
It has a slightly bitter taste and a meaty texture that makes it a great addition to curries, salads, soups, and stir-fries.
Here are some of the health benefits of banana flower for women.
1. Regulates menstrual cycle
Banana flowers are rich in phytoestrogens, which can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce menstrual cramps. It also aids helps to support the uterus and reduces bleeding post-delivery.
2. Helps prevent anemia
Banana flower is rich in iron, which is important for women to prevent anemia and maintain good health.
3. Aids in weight loss
Banana flower is a low-calorie, high-fiber food which makes it a great alternative for those trying to lose weight.
4. Improves digestion and gut health
Banana flower has enzymes that aid digestion and may relieve symptoms of gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, constipation, ulcer and gas.
5. Reduces inflammation
Banana flower contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body.
6. Boosts immunity
Banana flower is rich in antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system and protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
7. Promotes lactation
Banana flower contains galactagogue which stimulates the hormones oxytocin and prolactin and helps increase breast milk production among lactating women.
8. Improves heart health
Banana flower is rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
9. Improves kidney function
Banana flower has diuretic properties, which can help improve kidney function and reduce the risk of kidney stones. It can also help to make your urine smell better!
10. Treats infections
The banana flower can treat infections because it contains ethanol, which helps to prevent harmful bacterial growth.
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How To Prepare Banana Flower
Preparing banana flower involves a few steps:
1. Remove the outer layers: Start by removing the outer layers of the banana flower until you reach the tender and light-colored inner layers. You can discard the tough outer layers.
2. Chop the inner layers: Chop the tender inner layers of the banana flower into small pieces and put them in a bowl of water with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. This will prevent the chopped banana flower from turning brown.
3. Rinse: Rinse the chopped banana flower thoroughly in running water to remove any dirt or impurities.
4. Boil: Boil the banana flower in a pot of water with a teaspoon of salt for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes tender. Drain the water and let it cool.
5. Sauté: In a pan, heat some oil and add chopped onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions become translucent. Then, add the boiled banana flower and sauté for a few more minutes.
6. Season: Season the banana flower with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices. You can also add grated coconut or cooked lentils for added flavor and nutrition.
7. Serve: Serve the banana flower as a side dish or mix it with rice. Enjoy!