There are two species of Bananas - 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.
"Banana cures obesity, kapha, diseases of the vagina, causes constipation, improves colour and destroys poisoning." (Lodhradi Gana).(1)
- Banana according to Ayurveda is a good remedy for depression and a great replacement to snacking on chocolate as comfort food. When depression is caused by the quality (guna) of dryness, bananas actually grant courage and fortitude. (This does not mean to indulge in Banana when feeling down, eat everything in moderation).
- Banana 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.
Banana + Dairy = Incompatible Food Combination (Viruddha Ahara)
Banana mixed with dairy is highly incompatible.
Banana has a post-digestive action (vipaka) that is sour, while Ayurveda also states that 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), Banana in your Porridge, Banana Milkshake and 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.
- Rasa (Taste) - Sweet and Astringent
- Virya (Energy) - Cooling
- Vipaka (Post-Digestive Effect) - Sour