What is a Banana?
Bananas are the second leading fruit crop in the world. They abound in hundreds of edible varieties that fall into two distinct species: the sweet banana and the plantain banana. All bananas are elliptically shaped, featuring a ﬁrm, creamy ﬂesh inside a thick, inedible peel. While most people think of bananas as having yellow skins, they can also feature red, pink, purple, and black tones when ripe.
Although it looks like a tree, bananas actually grow on a plant. The banana plant grows to 10 to 26 feet/ 3 to 8 meters in height and belongs to the same family as the lily and the orchid. Bananas grow in clusters of ﬁfty to 150 on the plant, with individual bananas grouped in bunches, known as “hands,” of ten to twenty-ﬁve bananas.
The most popular type of banana is the large, yellow, smooth-skinned variety of sweet banana familiar to most Europeans and Americans. This banana (Musa sapienta) is known as the Manque or Gros Michel (Big Mike). Sweet bananas vary in size and color and are usually eaten raw. The larger, green bananas are known as plantains (Musa pamdisiaca). Plantain bananas are prepared similarly to vegetables in that they are usually fried or cooked.
History of Banana Fruit
Originating in Malaysia around 4,000 years ago, bananas were introduced to Africa by Arabians during the early part of the Middle Ages and were spread to the Americas by Portuguese explorers during the late ﬁfteenth century; there they thrived, and there the majority of the world’s supply is now grown.
With the development of refrigeration and rapid transport in the mid-1900s, bananas have become one of the most popular fruits of today. While bananas grow in most tropical and subtropical regions, the main commercial producers are Costarica, Mexico, Ecuador, and Brazil as well as Caribbean countries.
Banana Nutrition Content
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, ﬁber, riboﬂavin, magnesium, biotin, and carbohydrates. Since they have a lower water content than most fruit, bananas typically have more calories as well as a higher sugar content.
A 100 gram serving is a small (61/2-inch/15 cm) banana and provides 89 calories, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, and 22.8 grams of carbohydrate, with 2.6 grams of ﬁber and 12.2 grams of natural sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose), 358 milligrams of potassium, 27 milligrams of magnesium, and 5 milligrams of calcium.
Summary of Banana Nutrition Facts
One serving of banana contains 110 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein.
- Vitamin B6 – 0.5 mg
- Manganese – 0.3 mg
- Vitamin C – 9 mg
- Potassium – 450 mg
- Dietary Fiber – 3g
- Protein – 1 g
- Magnesium – 34 mg
- Folate – 25.0 mcg
- Riboflavin – 0.1 mg
- Niacin – 0.8 mg
- Vitamin A – 81 IU
- Iron – 0.3 mg
Important Banana Nutritional Information
Potassium in Banana
Your body uses the potassium you obtain from foods like bananas to trigger enzymes that break down carbohydrates and to aid in building strong teeth and bones. Potassium is required to maintain the electrolyte concentration that allows your muscles to contract and your nervous system to transmit impulses. If your diet doesn’t contain adequate potassium, you’re significantly more likely to die of heart disease, says a 2011 study published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine.” You also have an increased risk of osteoporosis, hypertension, stroke and kidney stones.
There are 105 calories in a medium-sized banana. A medium banana is about 7 to 8 inches long. Many of the bananas that you find in the local grocery store are larger than that. Since you probably don’t get out a tape measure for your fruit, a safe estimate is that the average banana contains 90 to 120 calories, depending on its size.
Half a banana would only provide 45 to 60 calories. However, bananas don’t keep very well after they are peeled, so the other half often goes to waste, though there are ways around that.
Banana Fiber Content
Bananas contain fiber, and the amount varies with the banana’s size. A small banana of 6 to 7 inches in length contains 2.6 grams of fiber; a medium banana contains 3.1 grams of fiber; and an extra large banana — over 9 inches long — contains 4 grams of fiber. A green or unripe banana also contains a significant amount of resistant starch, a type of indigestible carbohydrate that functions like fiber.
Banana Fat Content
Total Fat 0.4g
Saturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 36.7mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 62.6mg
Minerals in Banana
(1 Large Banana)
Banana Nutrition Chart
*Percent Daily Values (%DV)
|Amt per Serving||%DV*||Amt per Serving||%DV*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%||Total Carbohydrate30g||10%|
|Cholesterol0mg||0%||Dietary Fiber 3g||12%|
Banana Health Benefits
Bananas contain potassium which keeps electricity flowing throughout the body, which is required to keep your heart beating. Bananas’ high potassium and low sodium content may also help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure, according to the FDA.
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A 2017 animal study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama found that the potassium in bananas is also linked to
arterial effectiveness; the more potassium you have, the less likely your arteries are to harden. In the study, mice with lower-potassium diet had harder arteries than mice consuming a normal amount of potassium. Arterial stiffness in humans is linked to heart disease.
Depression and mood
Bananas contain tryptophan which the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter.Tryptophan is also
known for its sleep-inducing properties. Vitamin B6 can help you sleep well, and magnesium helps to relax muscles.
Digestion and weight loss
Bananas are high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. One banana can provide nearly 10 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6 can also help protect against type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss, according to Flores. In
general, bananas are a great weight loss food because they taste sweet and are filling, which helps curb cravings.
Bananas are particularly high in resistant starch, a form of dietary fiber in which researchers have recently become interested. A 2017 review published in Nutrition Bulletin found that the resistant starch in bananas may support gut health and control blood sugar. Resistant starch increases the production of short chain fatty acids in the gut, which are necessary to gut health.
Bananas contain a small amount of Vitamin A, which is essential for protecting your eyes, maintaining normal vision and
improving vision at night.
Vitamin A contains compounds that preserve the membranes around the eyes and are an element in the proteins that bring light to your corneas. Bananas can help prevent macular degeneration, an incurable condition, which blurs central vision.
Bananas contain fructooligosaccharides, nondigestive carbohydrates that encourage digestive-friendly priobotics and enhance the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Vitamin B6 helps lower the risk of heart disease and certain kinds of cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. It may slow down the decline of older adults’ cognitive function and reduce the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms. People with autoimmune disorders, alcohol dependency and renal insufficiency are susceptible to vitamin B6 deficiencies and can also benefit from adding bananas to their diet.
Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, found in the skin, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It also supports the immune system and aids in wound healing.
Vitamin B2/ Riboflavin
Vitamin B-2 helps convert the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the diet into energy. Riboflavin also aids the liver in detoxifying chemicals and metabolizing drugs, according to the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University.
Vitamin B9/ Folate
Bananas contain small amount of Vitamin B9 which helps the bone marrow manufacture red blood cells, preventing anemia.
Vitamin B3/ Niacin
Bananas contain 6% Recommended Dietary Allowance of Niacine. Niacin helps the body produce needed fats and acts as a cofactor in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Vitamin B 1/ Thiamine
One banana provides approximately 3 to 4 percent of the Institute of Medicine’s RDA for thiamine.Thiamine proves an essential cofactor in converting the foods you eat into energy. It also helps your body manufacture the genetic material needed to produce new cells.
Vitamins A, E and K
Bananas contain Vitamins A, E and K in trace amounts. The bananas provides 1% percent of the RDA for vitamins A, E and K.
Potassium helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of
cells.Potassium also helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond. It keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the
effect of sodium on blood pressure. Potassium also helps reduce the risk of kidney stones that forms as people age.
Banana Food Recipes
In addition to being eaten raw, sweet bananas are a wonderful addition to a variety of recipes, including “smoothies,” baked goods, and cereals. Unlike sweet bananas, plantains need to be cooked. Depending on the country and culture, plantains are cooked like any other starchy vegetable. They can be grilled and then mashed into a porridge or, more commonly, roasted or fried.
A quick, simple recipe for fried plantains is:
- 3 ripe plantains (skin should be blackened)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Peel the plantains and cut them into ‘A1-inch/1/2 cm slices on the diagonal. In a large, heavy skillet, add the olive oil and heat at a medium level.
- Sauté the plantains until golden brown and soft (approximately 2 minutes per side).
- Yields four to six servings
Quick Serving Ideas
- Put frozen bananas in a food processor to make a delicious frothy iced dessert.
- Blend bananas and papayas together with a little apple juice, and use as a topping for plain yogurt.
- For a healthy twist on a campﬁre favorite, cut unpeeled bananas lengthwise midway through the ﬂesh. Spread fruit open and place peanut butter and chopped ﬁgs in the opening, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and grill on the barbecue.
- Add chopped bananas, walnuts, and maple syrup to oatmeal or porridge.
Common uses of banana
For a more balanced diet, you can have the fruit of banana in any of the following ways:
- Cooking: adding a banana to your bowl of cereal, oats or corn to increase the nutrients.
- Flavours: frozen bananas to your smoothie for a delicious flavor.
- Baking: ripe mashed bananas in baked goods. It is a good replacement for oil and butter in cooking.Also banana in cakes and cookies. It gives them a yummy taste.
- Desserts: Coat the banana with grated coconut and bake it. Enjoy it as a snack or you can freeze it and have it for dessert.
Different parts of banana are used for cooking in different parts of the world. Some eat it raw or cooked, others also eat the peel or the skin of the banana, which are also nutritious.
The banana heart (flower) is also used in various curries and soups. The banana leaves are used as wrapping materials for baking and boiling various dishes. They are also used as biodegradable plants or containers. The trunk of the plant is also used in a Burmese dish called mohinga, which is a rice noodle with fish soup.
Benefits of Banana heart
- Manages anemia
- Reduces free radical activity
- Wards off infections
- Boosts mood and reduces anxiety
- Reduces menstrual bleeding
Medicinal Value of Banana
- Cancer Prevention: Some evidence suggests that moderate consumption of bananas may be protective against kidney cancer. A 2005 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables cut their risk of kidney cancer by 40 percent, and that bananas were especially effective. Women eating four to six bananas a week halved their risk of developing kidney cancer. Bananas may be helpful in preventing kidney cancer because of their high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
- Treats Piles (Hemorrhoids)
Bananas have been used as a natural remedy for piles as the high fiber content makes it easy to pass stools. The laxative effect prevents any kind of strain, thus providing relief and curing hemorrhoids (swollen veins around the anus region).
- Treats Ulcers: Traditionally, bananas have been used as an antacid food to soothe upset stomachs as they can also suppress acid secretion. The protease inhibitors in bananas eliminate the harmful bacteria that have been linked to the development of stomach ulcers.
- Treats Anemia: Bananas contain high iron content and therefore aid in treating anemia since iron is an essential part of red blood cells. Bananas also have a significant content of copper, which is an important element in the creation of red blood cells. By increasing your red blood cell count, not only do you prevent anemia, but you can also increase circulation to all parts of the body, thereby oxygenating them and optimizing their functionality.
- Treats Asthma: A banana a day keeps asthma at bay! According to research, children consuming one banana a day reduced their asthma risk by 34%.
- Treats Constipation: Bananas contain significant amounts of dietary fiber and therefore help in smooth bowel movements. The roughage soothes the excretion process and relieves a person from constipation. They also help in treating other intestinal disorders.
- Cures Diabetes: A banana provides about 3 grams of dietary fiber, which is beneficial for both type-1 and type-2 diabetics. Type-1 diabetics may have lowered blood glucose levels and type-2 may have improved blood glucose levels.
- Prevents Kidney Disorders: Potassium and various antioxidants in bananas help ease the strain on kidneys and encourage urination. This can help keep toxins from accumulating in the body.
- Relieves Menstrual Problems: Cooked banana flowers help in providing relief from painful and excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle and can relieve other menstrual distress too.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties: The compounds inside bananas are anti-inflammatory in nature, meaning that they can reduce swelling, inflammation, and irritation from conditions like arthritis and gout.
Negative Effects of Eating Banana
Consuming banana may have a number of side effects like:
- High potassium levels: Certain medicines consumed for heart disease and hypertension have the ability to raise potassium levels in the body.These include beta-blockers and diuretics. Therefore, those on medication are advised to consult a doctor before adding bananas to their diet.
- Allergy: Those who are allergic to bananas may experience itching, swelling, hives, and wheezing in the throat and mouth.
- Migraine: Those you get frequent migraine attacks are advised to have no more than half a banana a day.
- Gastrointestinal distress: Due to the abundant amount of fiber, eating too many bananas may cause various gastrointestinal disorders. These include stomach cramps, bloating, gas, and many more.
How to Select and Store Bananas at Home
Fresh sweet bananas and plantains are best when they are yellow, with no green showing, and speckled with brown. Sweet bananas and plantains with green tips are not quite ripe, but they will continue to ripen if stored at room temperature, particularly if placed in a plastic bag, as the gases they emit turn around and act on them to stimulate further ripening. After ripening, bananas and plantains may be stored at room temperature for one to two days, when they will continue to ripen and discolor.
Ripe bananas and plantains can be stored in the refrigerator, and while the skin will turn dark brown, they will remain fresh for three to ﬁve days. Bananas and plantains that are bruised, discolored, or soft have deteriorated and should not be used.
Bananas and plantains can also be frozen and will keep for about two months. Either purée them before freezing or simply remove the peel and wrap the bananas in cling ﬁlm. To prevent discoloration, add some lemon juice before freezing. Dried bananas will keep for one to two months, and banana chips will keep for up to three months.
Safe Handling of Banana Fruits
Like avocados, bananas contain enzymes called chitinases that can cause allergic reactions in people with sensitivity to latex. Therefore, individuals with a latex sensitivity should avoid touching or eating bananas. The treatment of bananas with ethylene gas to induce ripening can increase the presence of these allergenic enzymes; therefore we recommend selecting organic bananas not treated with ethylene gas, as they have fewer allergy-causing compounds. Be sure to purchase unsulphured dried banana products.