Diarrhoea is a common condition in our children. Approximately 3-4 episodes of diarrhoea annually are a common event in children under 5. To prevent diarrhoea, handwashing, eating safe food, drinking clean water and safe disposal of excreta is important.
Many studies have been done to see the effect of green or unripe banana in treating diarrhoea. Bananas are often described as the ideal food. They have no fat, cholesterol or sodium, but are full of fibre, vitamin B6 and C, potassium and complex carbohydrates.
Raw, green bananas contain pectin - a fibre that absorbs excess water from the intestines and firms up the stool, and oligofructans that nourish the good gut bacteria which aid in nutrient absorption. The pectin also stimulates the production of mucus in the colon and small bowel, which serves as a barrier between the stomach lining and the acidic gastric substances that may trigger a stomach upset.
A study found that babies with diarrhoea, when given cooked raw banana, started showing improvements about 24 hours after the treatment began. By the fifth day, almost all the babies who were given raw bananas had completely recovered while those in the control group, who did not have raw banana in their diet, continued to suffer from diarrhoea for up to 10 days.
Cook a couple of unripe bananas in boiling water with their skin on for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the skin, mash them, add a bit of salt and mustard oil and have this twice a day with soft steamed rice. About 180 - 200 grams of cooked green bananas (about one and a half banana) per day seems to be effective for children.
As it is effective, easily available, less costly and preparation is easy, we all can recommend the mothers to feed green bananas to their children in case of diarrhoea.
The author is a Professor of Paediatrics at Community Based Medical College (CBMC), Mymensingh.