Banana: There is a bit of confusion when it comes to banana. Some people believes that banana is a great fruit of even a superfood as it can boost energy and help the body in providing the required fibre while some believes that banana causes indigestion, weight gain and constipation.
The scientific name for banana is Musa, from the Musaceae family of flowering tropical plants, which distinctively showcases the banana fruit clustered at the top of the plant.
Banana is a great source of:
One serving, or one medium ripe banana, provides about 110 calories, 0 gram fat, 1 gram protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams sugar (naturally occurring), 3 grams fiber, and 450 mg potassium.
Bananas are a rich source of carbs, which occur mainly as starch in unripe bananas and sugars in ripe bananas.
The carb composition of bananas changes drastically during ripening.
The main component of unripe bananas is starch. Green bananas contain up to 80% starch measured in dry weight.
During ripening, the starch is converted into sugars and ends up being less than 1% when the banana is fully ripe (2).
Bananas have a relatively low glycemic index (GI) of 42–58, depending on their ripeness. The GI is a measure of how quickly carbs in food enter your bloodstream and raise blood sugar (3).
Bananas’ high content of resistant starch and fiber explains their low GI.
A high proportion of the starch in unripe bananas is resistant starch, which passes through your gut undigested.
Bananas are also a good source of other types of fiber, such as pectin. Some of the pectin in bananas is water-soluble.
When bananas ripen, the proportion of water-soluble pectin increases, which is one of the main reasons why bananas turn soft as they age (5).
Both pectin and resistant starch moderate the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
Bananas are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C (1Trusted Source).
Potassium. Bananas are a good source of potassium. A diet high in potassium can lower blood pressure in people with elevated levels and benefits heart health (6Trusted Source).
Vitamin B6. Bananas are high in vitamin B6. One medium-sized banana can provide up to 33% of the Daily Value (DV) of this vitamin.
Vitamin C. Like most fruit, bananas are a good source of vitamin C.
- Banana (Cavendish) – Sometimes classified as a “dessert banana,” this classic type is mildly sweet when ripe. Choose bananas with green or clear yellow peels without bruising. The ripening process will change the peel from being thick and stiff to thin and more flexible, with brown spots surfacing until the entire peel darkens. For best flavor, wait until the banana is golden yellow with a few brown spots. With continued ripening, the entire peel turns brownish-black and the pulp begins to ferment and soften further while losing sweetness.
- Plantain (Green Banana) – Larger, starchier, and less-sweet version of Musa that is often used for cooking. When green, the plantain is unripe with a neutral flavor and firm flesh. In certain tropical regions including Central America, Africa, and the Philippines, the plantain is a major source of carbohydrate that is fried, boiled, or baked in a wide variety of dishes. If allowed to mature, the skin will yellow and develop a slightly sweet flavor that may be eaten raw or cooked.
- Red Banana – This variety is shorter and plumper than the Cavendish variety with a dark reddish-purple hue. A ripe red banana will be creamy and often sweeter than Cavendish bananas.
- Lady Finger – Thinner and slightly shorter than the Cavendish bananas, they are sweeter and eaten raw or as dessert.
Benefits of banana:
- Cardiovascular: Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, a vital mineral and electrolyte in the body that carries a small electrical charge. These charges cause nerve cells to send out signals for the heart to beat regularly and muscles to contract. Potassium is also needed to maintain a healthy balance of water in cells, and offsets the effects of excess dietary sodium. An imbalance in the diet of too little potassium and too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Excessive sodium can lead to a buildup of fluid in the blood, placing pressure on the walls of blood vessels and eventually causing damage. Potassium helps the body to flush out extra sodium in the urine, and eases tension in blood vessel walls.
- Digestive health: Bananas are included in the BRAT diet (an acronym for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast), a once commonly prescribed regimen for patients with diarrhea or who required a bland, easy-to-digest diet after stomach ailments. Not just easy to eat, bananas can help replete electrolytes like potassium that are lost with diarrhea or vomiting, and contain resistant starch (especially if using cooked less-ripe green bananas) that may support gut healing.
Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that “resists” digestion in the small intestine. It is absorbed slowly and does not cause sharp rises in blood sugar. The starch acts as food for the growth of beneficial microbes in the digestive tract. Microbes break down and ferment the starch as it passes into the large intestine, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that may play a role in the prevention of chronic diseases including digestive disorders. Clinical studies have shown the potential use of SCFA in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Banana should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
We should not refrigerate green banana as this can disrupt normal ripening.
To speed up ripening we can store them in brown paper bags or place them close to other ripened fruits as they release ethylene gas that causes ripening.
Fully ripe golden yellow banana can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed produce drawer. Refrigeration will allow to preserve the flavor even if the peel becomes darker.