𝗦𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗘𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝗕𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗮 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗳 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝗜𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗲 𝗦𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺.
In India, it is traditional to serve food on banana leaves. Especially in Southern states, there is a tradition of eating food on banana leaves as it is considered to be healthy and auspicious. This tasty and healthy plate is especially utilised on special occasions, auspicious events and festivals. Even today, it is a tradition to serve food on banana leaves mainly in the southern part of India. Everyone sits together and rice, vegetables, curries, lentils, meat, pickles, everything is served on the same leaf as it is large enough to accommodate the whole meal on one banana leaf. There are several reasons linked with eating food on Banana leaves, ranging from scientific reasons to generic benefits. Banana leaves are also used in some ayurvedic medicinal preparations.
Banana leaf is considered to contain several nutrients which may not be possible to be included in the daily food intake. Consuming food served on banana leaves dissolves the nutrition from the leaf into the food, potentially offering several health benefits. Banana leaves have a waxy coating that has a subtle but distinct flavour. When hot food is placed on the leaves, the wax melts and lends its flavour to the food, making it taste better. Food served on the banana leaves absorbs the polyphenols which are said to prevent many lifestyle diseases.
Banana leaves are packed with Natural antioxidants and plant-based compounds called Polyphenols such as Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which actually belong to the family of catechins, which is also found in green tea. It contains 3 phenol rings and has very strong antioxidant properties. It is believed this protects our cells from oxidative damage from free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the stressors that our modern life puts on our bodies. A number of chronic diseases have been associated with free radical damage, including cancer, arteriosclerosis, heart diseases and accelerated ageing.
While banana leaves are not easy to digest if eaten directly when hot food is served the food absorbs the polyphenols from the leaves so that you get the benefit of the nutrition and makes our food healthy. It is also believed that the leaf has antibacterial properties that kill all the germs in the food, thereby reducing the chances of you falling sick. It is also advisable for women who suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or fibroid to take food on banana leaves and it would help to reduce the risk of a childless situation. Banana leaves do not require a lot of cleaning. Due to the waxy coating even rinsing it with water removes everything from its surface.
So, they are easy to clean and make a good choice for hygiene-conscious people. Just a rinse and they are good to go. Steaming or cooking food in banana leaves also adds a sweet flavour and imparts astringency to the food. Use the juice of a fresh banana leaf to treat minor skin wounds and other skin disorders such as dandruff, eczema, and sunburn. Banana leaves have medicinal properties that can relieve poisonous insect bites, bee stings, spider bites, rashes, and skin irritation. Banana leaves are a better option and extremely Eco-friendly, which decompose within days, unlike plastic ones which take years together. As it is a thousand-year-old tradition and people of that time might not be aware of that much science behind using this so there must be some practical reasons too, that make it a good choice for everyone.
Dr. Adarsha Gowda
St. Aloysius College, Autonomous
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