Bananas have been present in our diets since long time ago, they are rich in potassium (plays an important role in mass bone formation and blood pressure regulation), selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc.
One benefit of green bananas is the high resistant starch content. For those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes can eat the unripe fruit while maybe ripened bananas are not as compatible.
In spite most of us believe in the health benefits and multiple properties of banana, not many people knows about their invaluable active constituent, a lectin named BanLec (from Banana Lectin), that is known to exert anti-cancer properties and that has been the subject of scientific study for its potential use in future medicines.
In the study, the lectin was found to elicit a mitogenic response in the murine splenocytes and induce the expression of the cytokines interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF), and interleukin-2 (IL-2) in splenocytes.
Research done on ripening bananas has proved that the induction levels of TNF-α increased markedly with dark spots on skin before the entire banana peel turned brown. Tumor Necrosis Factor(TNF-α) is a cytokine whose primary role is in the regulation of immune cells and is also able to induce fever, apoptosis, inflammation, cachexia and to inhibit tumorigenesis and viral replication and respond to sepsis through IL1 & IL6 producing cells. Dysregulation in the production of TNF has been implicated in a variety of human diseases including major depression, psoriasis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. The research concluded that the activity of banana was comparable to that of Lentinan, a chemical immunostimulant which is intravenously administered as an anti-cancer agent. Hence, ripe banana can act as an anti-cancer agent by stimulating the production tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and the cytokinin IL-12, which recruit macrophages and immune cells, thereby stimulating the immune system and attacking the cancer cells.