Banana is considered to be one of the most common fruits in the world. Its fruits are the one’s usually eaten. But did you know that some other part of the banana plant, which is usually just thrown away or ignored, have also their own uses? The juice extracted from banana stem contains anti-diabetic compounds, according to a study published in Czech Journal of Food Sciences.
Diabetes is a condition wherein your blood sugar levels are above normal. It may be caused by reduced sensitivity to insulin or insufficient insulin production. Insulin is the hormone responsible for keeping blood sugar levels in check and without its effects, blood sugar will build up.
There were past studies showing the potential of the phytochemicals in bananas when it comes to treating diabetes. It was found that these phytochemicals can promote antioxidant activity and inhibit the carbohydrate-digesting enzymes and glucose adsorption. Unfortunately, these phytochemicals have not been studied and developed into phytomedicines or products that possess antidiabetic activity. This means that it might not be present in all bananas due to some factors, such as environmental conditions.
This study aims to know the effects of environmental conditions on the antidiabetic compounds found in stem juice extracted from bananas planted either in Vietnam or a greenhouse in the Czech Republic. Researchers performed metabolite profiling and they found that there were variations in the compounds in the samples. The stem juice from bananas grown in the greenhouse only had nine out of the 17 compounds that were screened for, while stem juice from bananas grown in Vietnam had 12.
Furthermore, they also determine antidiabetic activity based on the inhibitory effect on alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase, which are carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, and their ability to inhibit cells from turning into adipocytes. The same level of inhibition for alpha-glucosidase was observed from the stem juice from both sources. Although stem juice from the bananas grown in Vietnam did have a slightly higher level of inhibition, there was no significant inhibition of alpha-amylase for both samples. It was found that neither of the samples was able to prevent cells from turning into adipocytes.
It was concluded that the juice from the banana stem contains phytochemicals that exhibit antidiabetic potential. Even if these phytochemicals are being affected by environmental conditions, the level of alpha-amylase inhibition remains constant regardless of where the banana was planted. This only shows that bananas have the potential of being a natural source for diabetes treatment, thereby reducing the need for harmful antidiabetic drugs.
Other Health Benefits Of Bananas
Bananas also have other health benefits and these include:
Improving Heart Health
Bananas are rich in potassium, an element that helps maintain blood pressure. It is also packed with magnesium, which is also important for heart health.
Promoting Good Digestion
Being a good source of fiber, bananas can help improve digestion. Its fiber content can be classified as either pectin, which our body digests, or resistant starches that serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria. Pectin was found to have the ability to prevent colon cancer.
Reducing Cramps And Soreness
Bananas have high mineral and carbohydrate content, thereby cramps caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can be relieved.
Aiding In Weight Loss
Bananas have low caloric content so there is a feeling of fullness without the calories.
How To Make Banana Stem Juice
- Banana stem (Vazhaithandu) – 1 cup (chopped)
- Curd (or milk) – 1/2 cup
- Water – as needed
- Grind together the chopped banana stem pieces with some curd. If you prefer to have it like a milkshake, add milk instead of curd.
- Strain using a sieve. Again, this step is absolutely optional.
- Add little water to bring it to the right consistency.
- Check the taste and add honey if needed.
- Chill it in the refrigerator before serving.