As the world goes bananas over bananas, Sri Lanka celebrates its wonder superfruit with the catch-phrase first applied to an English beer: ‘It looks good, tastes good and, by golly, it does you good!’
And we don’t mean what foreigners imagine when they think ‘banana’, which is the ubiquitous big yellow Cavendish, the only one that many from the West have ever tasted or even heard of.
This variety was propagated in England by William Cavendish, the sixth Duke of Devonshire, in the early 1800s, and is believed to be the progenitor of almost all the world-wide varieties of Cavendish banana.
Which is all well and good—except that it doesn’t come close to comparing with the amazing variety of tasty and medicinal bananas that grow in abundance throughout our Paradise tropical island.
The Roar.lk has done us all a favour by extensively researching the history of our glorious ‘finger’ fruit, as Arab traders named it 1,000 years ago.
Roar reveals that Sri Lanka boasts of 29 varieties, from slightly sour to gloriously sweet, desert to cooking, of which many also have well-known medicinal qualities, as well as being highly nutritious.
For example, the anamalu banana “is well loved by athletes in Sri Lanka, for its ability to generate a quick burst of energy. It is also of particular use to those suffering from digestive problems”.
Other benefits include loads of potassium, “nature’s very own energy bars” that protect against muscle cramps, help control blood pressure and prevent strokes.
And last, but obviously not least, bananas are said to be one of nature’s natural aphrodisiacs!
Meanwhile, the National Geographic website also lauds the mighty banana in a recent post in which it says: “If fruits were countries, the banana would be the world’s superpower. If fruits were pop stars, the banana would be Beyoncé.”
It cites Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, as calling it “one of the most intriguing organisms on earth…from obscure jungle species in Southeast Asia to the largest fruit crop and the fourth-most valuable food crop in the world, behind only wheat, rice, and milk”.
As an example, it says that the US “eats 3 million tons of bananas each year—a stunningly large number for a country that produces very few. They’re the single-most-sold item at Walmart, to the tune of 1 billion pounds [in weight] annually”.