Ayurveda, Food, Journal, Recipes
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Feature Food: Banana (“Kadali”)

There are two species of Banana’s – Musa acuminata (the common fruit) and Musa
balbisiana (plantain or green banana that’s used as a vegetable). Additionally
there are hybrids and offsprings, but they all stem from these 2 original wild
species.
I will share the Ayurvedic view of the common Banana fruit (Musa acuminata), known as “Kadali” in Sanskrit.

The Benefits:

  • “Banana cures obesity, kapha, diseases of the vagina, causes constipation,
    improves colour and destroys poisoning.” (Lodhradi Gana).(1)
  • Banana is a good remedy for depression and a great replacement to snacking on chocolate as a comfort food. When depression is caused by quality of dryness, bananas actually grant courage and fortitude.- (This does not mean to indulge in Banana when feeling down, eat everything in moderation).
  • It mitigates Pitta due to sweet taste, however if eaten in excess can increase
    pitta.
  • It increases stomach acid – beneficial for those with too little acid.
  • High in Potassium – Potassium levels are important for those whose sodium/salt
    intake is high and for nerves and muscles.
  • High in Vitamin B6 – Combining B12, Folic acid, and B6 is important because they
    are synergistically active to provide protection to the heart, brain, and
    nervous system, and more.
  • Skin Care – It is good to incorporate in to your homemade topical skin paste. Especially for Pitta skin types.
  • Low Pesticide Levels – Banana’s are not very “dirty” in the sense that
    conventional tree’s don’t require much pesticides.

Cautions:

Banana + Dairy = Incompatible Food Combination (Viruddha Ahara)

Banana mixed with dairy is highly incompatible. The post-digestive action
(vipaka) of Banana is sour, while the vipaka of milk is sweet. The different
vipakas create an incompatible food composition that typically deposits as “Ama
(undigested food material = toxins) in the body and will manifest as disease
later. It changes the intestinal flora and diminishes Agni (digestive fire).
Banana mixed with dairy is a common cause of skin diseases.

This (incompatible) food combination is so common in the west, and is in my top
3 “biggest flaws of the western diet.” Stay away from Banana Smoothies with milk
(see my healthier Banana Smoothie Recipe below), Banana in your Porridge, Banana Milkshake, Banana Cake – Generally banana (like most fruits) should be eaten alone, but there are some exceptions (see below).

Time to Eat Banana

Banana is one of the only fruits with “rules” – One should not eat it on full stomach nor empty stomach – Banana is not healthy to eat first thing in the morning. Like other fruit, having Banana as an afternoon snack is an appropriate time to eat banana.

People with high blood sugar should not eat banana very much.

Ayurvedic Properties

  • Rasa (Taste) – Sweet and Astringent
  • Virya (Energy) – Cooling
  • Vipaka (Post-Digestive Effect) – Sour

Banana Smoothie Recipe:

Serves 2.
Ingredients:
– 2 large Bananas
– 6-8 Medjool Dates 6-8, stones removed and roughly chopped
– 1/2 cup of almonds that have been soaked & skin removed. Roughly crushed.
– Good pinch of Ground cinnamon
– Good pinch of crushed cardamom seeds.
– 1/2-1 cup of water or coconut milk (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve at room temperature, (since cold drinks and food put out Agni/digestive
fire).
*Please note banana is best eaten alone. Combining Banana with some coconut oil
(good to reduce the high blood sugar spikes from banana), cardamom and ghee is
also fine. This recipe is for those who want to get a bit more creative and
transition to a Healthier Banana Smoothie Option.

References:
(1) Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, Ch. 16, (18-19).

photo: by Dylan Smith taken in Tiruvannamalai. 

Other Feature Foods:

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