Recipe: banana stem, a tasty superfood you should try

Picture credit: ta.wikipedia.org/ Sengai Podhuvan

Bananas are the most commonly found fruit in India and are very nutritious. The tender inner stem of the tree is very nutritious too. Thanks to the stem being able to prevent many ailments, it clearly qualifies as a superfood.

In many southern Indian states, homes with a garden would often have a banana tree and could provide the house with the fruit and stem. Growing the tree at home is becoming rarer these days. However, the stem is commonly sold in vegetable markets.

DH lists a few health benefits of consuming banana stem:

Digestion/ detox:
It is very high in fibre and excellent for digestion, bowel movement and clearing the intestines. The juice of the banana stem helps in flushing out toxins from the body. This is due to the fact that it is a diuretic (something that removes fluid from the body). Removal of toxins means an automatic health boost.

Treating UTI/ kidney stone treatment:
Banana stem is commonly eaten in many parts of India because it is known to prevent the formation of kidney stones. The juice is made from the stem with a few drops of lemon in it. Banana stem is rich in potassium and the citric acid in the lemon juice, both do not allow the formation of stones because excess calcium is flushed out of the urinary system. Cardamom can also be added to the juice.

Banana stem juice is also known to prevent urinary tract infections.

Losing weight:
Drinking banana stem juice regularly can help in reducing body weight. It does this by slowing down the release of sugar and fat that will eventually get stored in the body.

Moreover, being rich in fibre, it can make the stomach feel full for a long time and reduce the tendency of eating at shorter intervals. It is also very low in calories.

The juice also helps in regulating insulin levels in the body and can, therefore, control sugar levels in the blood. While making the juice, the fibre should not be discarded as it is the one that controls sugar levels.

Keeping cholesterol and blood pressure in check:
Banana stem has high levels of vitamin B6 and potassium. Vitamin B6 is required to increase the haemoglobin count, while potassium is known to be good to counter cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Cure for acidity:
Banana stem juice is a good way to get rid of acidity. It is also good for treating heartburn.

Recipes using banana stem:
1) The simplest and most convenient way of consuming banana stem is making a juice. The thick outer parts of the stem have to be removed. The innermost tender part has to be cut into smaller pieces and ground in a food processor. The thick paste can be diluted. If it is too thick, a part of the fibre can be removed. A bit of lemon and a pinch of salt will make this juice taste great too.

2) The tender part of the banana stem can be made into a tasty raita. The stem has to be diced fine. Curd and a bit of salt is added and mixed well. This mix can be tempered and made tastier.

3) There is a very interesting street food recipe using the banana stem. The tender part has to be diced fine. The other ingredients are finely diced cucumber, onion, grated carrot and finely chopped coriander. Mix all these well with a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice. A bit of green chilli chutney and sweet tamarind chutney, the stuff commonly used in bhel puri, can also be added to give it some zest.

4) There are also various other healthy side dishes that can be prepared using the banana stem. These can be found on the internet.

Note: The health benefits listed are for guidance and not substitutes for professional medical advice.

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