Bananas in Bolivia

We love Bananas!

It’s not a secret that Btina and myself love Bananas. So this blog post is dedicated to the lovely Banana fruit or technically speaking the banana berry :-) Visually speaking there are green, yellow and red Bananas and maybe even in some additional flavors.

Here in Bolivia it seems similar like in Paraguay most local people don’t like eating Bananas and rather prefer consuming a industrial product like a Mars or Snicker than a healthy Banana. It sounds crazy but hey it’s kind of logical… We in Europe have no fresh Bananas so it’s something rather special for us. The people living near or in the tropical regions of the World have all the Bananas growing everywhere even in their backyard so now that they have more choice and lot’s of marketing over the television and magazines they really prefer the not so healthy snacks …

Green Bananas in Bolivia
Image: Green Bananas at the local market in Rurrenabaque, Beni, Bolivia

The Banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. Without pollination from the first female part the fruits are growing. Later there are bisexual and male flowers yielding no fruits, thus cut away.

Banana Landscape Rurrenabque Bolivia

85% organic Bananas in Bolivia

In Bolivia, there are currently 63,895 hectares of banana fields. For Banana cultivation, the major production area is the Tropic of Cochabamba. This covers the market regionally, nationally, and internationally. In the region of Los Yungas, Caranavi and adjacent, currently, there are 600 hectares. Organic production makes up 85% of these crops. The “normal” Banana fruits will go through fumigation and every other kind of warfare to kill any possible living or organic “enemy”. This is more or less what happens locally then normally Bananas get exported and here again they get a special treatment in kind of a fumigation to kill insects etc ….

So we absolutely enjoy the natural Banana  and hopefully one day we will have our own Bananas in our garden and backyard and everywhere they want to grow :-)

Red Banana in Bolivia
In our experience one of the most tasty Banana type are the small red one which look a little like Red dwarf Bananas. Picture taken at one of the street markets of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.

 

Known health benefits of eating Bananas

  1. Bananas help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin – the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.
  2. Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar.
  3. Protect against muscle cramps during workouts and nighttime leg cramps by eating a banana.
  4. Counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones by supplementing with a banana.
  5. Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana, which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-relieving relaxation.
  6. Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6.
  7. Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas.
  8. High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.
  9. Eating Bananas Aids Digestion Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body.
  10. Bananas act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel. They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.
  11. Bananas May Cut Colon Cancer Risk by 72%:

Banana Rurrenabaque Bolivia river amazon
Image: Fresh green Bananas being brought by the great Beni River to the amazon jungle town of Rurrenabaque in the north of Bolivia.

That’s the benefit seen in this recent study from South America for those in the top third of banana eaters. Although the exact amount eaten was not provided, the average person ate 230 grams of bananas weekly (about 2 medium bananas), so eating four or more bananas per week is very likely a protective amount. But women may want to consider eating one banana daily—that level of consumption reduced breast cancer risk by 43% in a recent study from China.

Why are bananas so powerful? They are a rich source of unique lectins (protein compounds) which have shown potent anticancer activity in lab studies, and also boost immunity by stimulating macrophages—in particular T-lymphocytes.

Banana Leafs

Intriguingly, bananas may also inhibit colon cancer by raising melatonin levels: one study showed that melatonin levels more than quadrupled in healthy adults after eating two bananas, and other research has shown that colon cancer patients have consistently lower melatonin levels than healthy people, implying that low melatonin may increase cancer risk.

Bananas are truly nature’s ideal snack food: rich in B vitamins, fiber, phosphorus, and vitamin C. And alkaline diet fans take note: one medium banana supplies over 400 mg of the alkalizing mineral potassium—the same alkalizing power as 1.5 cups of pure lemon juice!

Yellow Bananas in Bolivia
Image: The yellow dwarf Bananas do taste very well to and are ideal for a snack in between meals. Also this picture was taken at one of the street markets of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.

Banana_SantaCruz
Image: Street vendor selling many fruits and many many Bananas in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.

Green Banana Fruit
Image: Banana tree in the mountain valley of Bermejo between Samaipata and Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.

Banana Platanos
Image: Those are Platanos which are most used for cooking hot meals such as for example the following Majadito dish.

Majadito Bolivia
Image: Best way to learn about local culture is local food: Majadito in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana

 

Ya Go

Founder PermaTree.org, Photography, Permaculture, Off-grid, DIY, Healthy lifestyle.