July 19, 2024

They are exceptionally delicious, healthy, convenient, and one of the most affordable fresh fruits you can purchase. It is one of the most accessible fruits and super easy to eat when you need a quick boost of energy. This makes them an excellent choice for anyone interested in eating healthy. They originate from a family of plants called Musa, grown worldwide in many warm climates, making them available anywhere you go.

Here’s everything you need to know about bananas.

All you Need To Know About Bananas

Bananas are one of the most important food crops in the world. They are a healthy source of fibre, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and many other antioxidants and phytonutrients (natural chemicals present in plants). The nutritional facts for 1 medium-sized banana are:

  • Calories: 89
  • Water: 75%
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Carbs: 22.8 grams
  • Sugar: 12.2 grams
  • Fibre: 2.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams

Carbs

The first nutrient we start with is carbs. Bananas are a rich source of carbs, mainly as starch, available in unripe bananas and sugar in ripe bananas. The composition is the part that changes during ripening. The main component of green bananas is 80% starch, measured in dry weight. After it is converted into sugars during ripening, the starch in the banana is less than 1%. Sucrose, fructose, and glucose are the most common types of sugar in ripe bananas, which equals 16% of the fresh weight. Bananas have a rather low glycemic index (GI) of 42 – 58, depending on their ripeness. The GI measures how quickly food and fluids containing carbs enter your bloodstream and raise blood sugar.

Fibres

A high percentage of unripe bananas are starch-resistant and pass through your gut undigested. A little science lesson here: your large intestine ferments the bacteria in starch to form butyrate, a fatty acid that benefits gut health, making bananas a good source of fibre, such as pectin. The proportion of water-soluble pectin in a ripe banana increases, so bananas primarily turn soft as they age.

Vitamins And Minerals

Vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium are abundant in bananas.

  • A high amount of potassium in bananas drastically helps lower blood pressure in people and improves heart health.
  • Bananas are high in vitamins B6 and C. One medium-sized banana = 33% of vitamin B6’s Daily Value (DV).
  • Bananas also comprise several healthy antioxidants like dopamine and catechin, which are responsible for multiple health benefits.

Types Of Banana

Types Of Banana

It truly feels like Stephen Covey’s famous quote, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”, does pertain to bananas. There are over 1,000 varieties of bananas grown in more than 135 countries worldwide, half of which are inedible, sadly. This beautiful fruit grows best in hot, humid climates and is often imported from Central America, including Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Ecuador. The most common type of banana is a Cavendish. The curved, yellow fruit can broadly be categorised into two groups: cooking bananas and dessert bananas. Although plantains are often confused for bananas, they can be classified as cooking bananas, although some believe plantains are different fruit.

1. Cavendish Banana

The Cavendish banana is your friendly neighbourhood banana at the local grocery store. They are slightly sweet with a creamy texture that passes various stages of ripening, from green to yellow, to a few brown spots on the peel. Their growth and production are vital for the economy of countries in Central America.

2. Red banana

As the name suggests, the banana is reddish-purple, and the flesh is light pink. They are much sweeter and softer than Cavendish bananas and have a subtle raspberry flavour that makes them irresistible.

3. Pisang Raja

This yellow to orange coloured banana is famous in Indonesia. They taste like honey-flavoured custard with a smooth and creamy consistency, although they’re slightly smaller than the Cavendish Bananas, averaging four to six inches long.

4. Plantain

Plantains, called cooking bananas, contain high starch content and are sometimes used in savoury dishes or consumed raw. They’re a staple in West and Central Africa, the Caribbean islands, and Central America.

5. Lady Finger Banana

Lady Finger bananas, or baby bananas, are sweeter and three inches long, making them more petite than Cavendish bananas. They have a creamy texture and sweet flavour with a hint of honey.

6. Barangan Banana

Yellow with tiny black dots, the Barangan Banana has a sweet, mild taste. The flesh is white with no seeds. It’s a popular variety and is a dessert in many tropical regions.

7. Blue Java Banana

Some call them ice cream bananas because of their beautiful blue peel, white flesh, sweet vanilla flavour, and extreme creaminess. Although they’re pretty hardy on the outside and can grow in colder regions.

8. Manzano Banana

If you have wondered what a burnt banana looks like, Manzano is the one. Their thick yellow skin turns black when fully ripe and is slightly sweeter than Cavendish bananas with an exciting hint of crunchy apple-strawberry flavour.

9. Burro Banana

Their lemony and tangy taste makes them one of the most unique. They have a flat, small, and a more square shape than Cavendish bananas. The creamy white flesh is soft, with some firmness in the centre.

10. Goldfinger Banana

This pest-resistant banana was first grown by a team of scientists in Honduras. Like the Cavendish, it can be cooked when green and eaten raw once fully ripe. Its eventual aim is to replace the more susceptible-to-disease variety.

Bananas And Health

Bananas And Health

1. Improve Blood Sugar Levels

Bananas are rich in soluble fibre, which dissolves as a liquid to form a gel during digestion. Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, but our bodies can’t digest it. Both fibre types may moderate your blood sugar levels after meals and help regulate your appetite by slowing the egestion process. The good news is that despite their high carb content, bananas won’t significantly increase blood sugar levels in healthy human beings. However, while diabetic people can enjoy bananas, the portion in one sitting should be monitored.

2. Support Digestive Health

As mentioned above, unripe bananas contain considerable amounts of resistant starch and pectin, a dietary fibre. The starch and pectins act as prebiotic nutrients, supporting the growth of gut bacteria. In your gut, these fibres are fermented by beneficial bacteria that form butyrate, which promotes gut health.

3. Aid Weight Loss

No study has actually tested bananas’ effects on weight loss. Regardless, the fruit does have several attributes that make it a weight-loss-friendly food. Fibre intake from fruits and vegetables is well known to lower body weight and weight loss. Furthermore, the resistant starch in unripe bananas fills and reduces your appetite. If you want to include unripe bananas in your diet, try using them as plantains. A banana has an average of 100 calories, and yet it’s nutritious and filling.

4. Supports Heart Health

Increased levels of potassium in bananas promote heart health and normalise blood pressure. A typical Cavendish banana contains around 0.4 grams of potassium. According to an extensive study of minerals, daily consumption of 1.3 – 1.4 grams of potassium is connected to lowering 26% risk of heart disease. Bananas additionally contain antioxidant flavonoids associated with significantly decreasing heart disease risk.

5. Full Of Antioxidants

Bananas are no exception when it comes to fruits that are excellent sources of dietary antioxidants and several potent antioxidants, including flavonoids and amines.

6. Helps You Feel Fuller

The banana’s soluble fibre keeps you full of additional bulk in your digestive system, slowing digestion down. Being relatively low in calories, a banana’s low-calorie and high-fibre combination makes them a slightly heavy snack, unlike processed or boxed snacks. So, if you’re trying to fill up on a quick snack, a sliced banana with protein-rich foods like Greek yoghurt or a banana protein shake should do the job.

7. Improve Kidney Health

Like the heart, a healthy kidney requires potassium to function and regulate blood pressure. And in that case, bananas are super beneficial to keep your kidneys healthy. A study of 5,000 people with early-stage chronic kidney disease concluded that potassium reduces blood pressure and is far from causing kidney diseases. On the other hand, some individuals with late-stage kidney disease or on dialysis must restrict their potassium intake. If you fall under either category, consult your healthcare team before manipulating your potassium intake.

Bananas Storage

Storage

  • Cool and protected from the light – Bananas tend to ripen quickly in a warm environment. Make sure you store them around 12°C. A darker room without direct sunlight is ideal compared to a sultry room.

  • The fridge is where they belong – You can keep your bananas in the refrigerator to store them correctly. However, the catch is you should put them away once they are ripe. Don’t be surprised if the skin turns brown due to the cold; it won’t impair the taste.

  • Bananas also say no to plastic – Do not ever store bananas in a plastic bag. They will rot quickly in warm and moist conditions and will be inedible in no time.

  • Fruits are unknowingly friends – Apples, avocados, and a few other fruits inadvertently help in the ripening process – but don’t do it if you want to keep your bananas fresh longer.

How to prepare

If you haven’t guessed this part, let us tell you how bananas are an extremely versatile and healthy fruit. A couple of Asian cuisines in the world eat raw and cooked flowers of bananas. That is possible when the leaves and flowers’ outer bracts are removed, revealing a pale, edible heart. A widespread way of using bananas is in a loaf of bread. There are numerous recipes when it comes to bananas. One is a traditional bread loaf with icing, with a topping of Brazil nuts, or healthy banana bread with a low-fat spread for breakfast.

How to prepare bananas

FAQs:

Q. Do bananas have B12 vitamins?

No, Vitamin B12 in a banana is zero per 100g. Although bananas contain essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, all the B Vitamins except B-12, vitamin E, vitamin K, and choline. Vitamin D is absent in bananas and is primarily found in animal foods. The most notable vitamins in a banana are vitamin C, with 15 per cent of the daily value on a 2,000-calorie diet, and an antioxidant your body needs to form new tissues and bones. Vitamin B-6 is 19 per cent of the daily value.

Q. Is eating a banana every day okay?

Nothing to worry about. Eating one to two bananas every day is considered healthy for most people. They’re full of essential nutrients, but too much of anything does more harm eventually. Ensure you eat these bananas as part of a balanced diet that provides all your body’s nutrients, or excess may contribute to weight gain and nutrient deficiencies.

Q. What is the best time to eat a banana?

Our stomach does take a long time to digest a banana. And also, keep in mind that our body’s metabolism is at its lowest at night. Therefore, you should ideally consume bananas in the morning or the evening and avoid eating them at night.

Q. What are the disadvantages of bananas?

Bananas do not really have disadvantages. But they may rarely cause bloating, gas, cramping, softer stools, nausea, and vomiting. In very high doses, bananas might shoot up high potassium levels in the blood.

Q. Are bananas okay for an empty stomach?

Despite being full of potassium, fibre and magnesium, bananas should not be your go-to food on an empty stomach. Some of the reasons are:

  • The high quantity of natural sugars in bananas that boosts energy can also drain you out after a few hours.
  • Bananas tend to leave you sleepy and tired temporarily.
  • Bananas are sadly acidic and may sometimes cause bowel issues if consumed on an empty stomach.


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