By S. Olanrewaju Disu .
B A N A N A .
The Banana is a peculiar tropical fruit with soft pulpy flesh. It is a widely cultivated perennial herb that does not have a persistent wood tissue but dies down at the end of a growing season. Banana fruits come in compact pendent bunches.
The Banana is a most valuable fruit in Lagos Metopolitan Markets. Banana is either eaten raw when ripe or can be processed into juice [ for toddlers or adults alike ] . The juice can be commercially canned or bottled. The ripe fruit can also be stored in the ’fridge. The banana fruit are harvested and brought into Lagos markets very frequently. Big lorries bring them from the hinterland several times in a week, when they are in season.
Virtually all the southern parts of Nigeria are tropical, rain-forest zones; and they enhance the cultivation of bananas on a very large scale. Therefore, Lagos area markets are flooded with bananas when they are in season.
The banana fruit is sometimes referred to as our “ invaluable friend” because of many reasons. The banana contains three sugars- glucose, fructose and sucrose. It also contains tryptophan, a type of protein that is very beneficial to humans. It is also high in iron, potassium and low in salt content. Thus this fruit is helpful in combating high blood pressure.
From time to time, the fibre contents of the banana help the local populace restore or ease bowel movement- i.e. helping to overcome constipation without the use of drugs.Its consumption also helps to combat heartburn problems because it has natural antacid effect on the body. Ulcer patients can also benefit tremendously from banana eating because it helps to neutralize over-acidity. Furthermore, the banana is reputed to be the only fruit that can be eaten raw [ without any distress ] in chronic cases of ulcer.
Can we say more of our most invaluable fruit called the banana? Yes! It helps to relieve some stress, because of its high potassium content. Whenever we are stressed, experts say, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing potassium levels. This, we are told , can be instantly re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium fruit such the banana. Banana is rich in a host of essential nutrients which makes it a very essential commodity in our markets in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.
PICTURES: Freshly harvested bananas for sale in a Lagos suburban market.