Do you ever think, Is Banana a Herb? Or a tree? Unlock the mystery in this article and enjoy this tropical fruit without any questions in mind!
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world! They are loaded with antioxidants and also are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, fibre, pectin, vitamin B6 and C. You can eat this nutritious fruit raw or add in smoothies or pancakes, the choice is yours! But, have you ever wondered–Is Banana a Herb, or is it a fruit? Let’s find out!
Is Banana a Herb?
Although it is often termed as a tree, banana is a plant, more particularly a herbaceous perennial. This makes banana, a herb, as its stem does not contain actual woody tissues.
Banana plants do not have a supporting, wooden trunk. They produce multiple layers of leaves, wrapped around, forming a stem, which is 12-16 inches thick and 30-40 feet tall. This attribute makes them one of the largest ‘herbs’ on the planet.
Fun Fact: Banana plant dies after fruiting. The infant banana plants (suckers/pups) grow from the base of the parent plant and form a new tree, ready to bear the next round of bananas!
Is Banana a Fruit?
This might come as a surprise to most of you, but bananas are berries! Yes, you read that right! Berries!
To fall under the category of fruit, it has to be the reproductive organ, containing seed structure. To be considered a berry, the ‘fruit’ has to be developed from a single ovary with a soft exocarp and fleshy mesocarp, with an endocarp containing one or more seeds. And banana fulfils all these qualities! This fruit develops from a single ovary, has a soft yellow outer skin with white flesh inside, full of tiny, black seeds!
Nutrition Value and Health Benefits of Banana
Bananas are packed with a fair amount of proteins, carbs, fibre, and minerals like potassium, vitamin B6 and C. They also contain essential neurotransmitter dopamine and catechin. Here are some of the health benefits they have on offer!
Unripe green bananas are rich in dietary fibre, starch, and pectin. These prebiotic nutrients assist the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. The fibres get fermented and produce butyrate, which is a short chain of fatty acids that boosts gut health.
Bananas are affluent in potassium and antioxidants that encourage heart health and maintain blood pressure. As per Large analysis of several studies, daily intake of 1.4-1.6 gms of potassium lowers the risk of heart ailments by 26%. Bananas are also full of essential antioxidant flavonoids that help in reducing risks of heart disease.
Adding fibre-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet may help in weight loss. Daily intake of 1-2 bananas makes you feel full and simultaneously reduces the appetite.
Banana contains resistant starch and pectin that help in controlling blood sugar. It also positions low to medium on the glycemic index (GI). The GI value of an unripe banana is approx 30, whereas a ripe banana comes at 60, and the average is 51.
It implies that banana consumption would not result in a significant rise in blood sugar levels in non-diabetic individuals. However, people with high blood sugar levels or type 2 diabetes should avoid taking a large quantity of ripened bananas.
12 Types Of Bananas :
1. Cavendish Bananas
These bananas are the most common variety, easily available in supermarkets in the United States. They are available in young unripe green to fully ripe, smooth yellow to riper dark yellow with brown spots. You can add them in smoothies, pancakes, or banana bread.
2. Gros Michel
This variety has a similar taste and size as Cavendish. It is not available as freely as the other varieties. Gros Michel has a sweet taste, a strong smell, with a creamier texture, and can be used in the preparation of banana pies!
3. Lady Finger
‘Lady Finger’ bananas are 4-5 inches long, cigar-shaped sweet fruit. They have a bright yellow thin peel with dark flecks when fully ripen. The flesh is creamy and more delicious than the other common banana varieties.
4. Blue Java
Blue Java bananas have vanilla ice-cream like flavour, and are also famous as ‘Ice cream bananas.’ They have silver-blue skin that turns pale yellow when ripe. The fruit has aromatic soft and sweet flesh. Add them to smoothies or relish their distinctive taste raw!
Also known as ‘apple bananas,’ they are stout and plump, with a thick firm peel and a light, creamy flesh. Young apple bananas have a tangy and sweet taste with a hint of apple. When the fruit ripens, they have a tart-apple aroma and a flavour of tropical profile with notes of strawberry and pineapple.
6. Red Bananas
Red bananas have red-purple skin, sweet flesh with a pink and orange tinge. Few of them are small and plump than Cavendish banana. When fully ripen, they have a cream to light pink flesh. Some of the fruits have a slight raspberry taste, and others have an earthy flavour.
7. Goldfinger Bananas
Goldfinger variety is native to Honduras. It is cold-tolerant, wind, and disease-resistant. The fruit has an apple-like sweet flavour and does not turn brown when cut. This variety is a cross between Cavendish and Lady Finger.
8. Nanjangud Banana
This banana variety is the most important crop in India. It is grown in Mysore and Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka, India. The fruit is famous for its unique taste and aroma and slightly tart flavour, because of a distinct method of cultivation and black clay alluvial saline soil around Nanjangud.
9. Praying Hands
Praying hands bananas are an unusual variety with two adjoining ‘hands’ that grow merged, hence the name. These bananas are relatively less sweet than other types and have an exceptional vanilla flavour.
Orinoco banana is hardy, that survives well in cold climates and winds. They require support when bearing huge heads of fruit. The texture becomes silky and soft when they mature, with a firm and fibrous peel. However, these bananas are comparatively starchy but have a delicious sweet taste and smooth texture.
Fehi banana has orange to red skin, with yellow or orange flesh. It is considered more nutritious and delicious when boiled or baked. This variety is stated as ‘unpleasantly astringent’ when eaten raw as the fruit has a higher amount of starch and low sugar compared to the other banana varieties.
Bluggoe banana bears fruits in large and straight shape. This variety has a starchy texture and resistant to Panama disease. Though it can be eaten raw people in Burma, Thailand, southern India, and East Africa use it for cooking only.