The banana is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with energy-giving carbohydrate and heart-healthy potassium.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and supply vitamin B6, fibre and carbohydrate, and some vitamin C. Since they have a lower water content than most fruit, bananas typically have more calories as well as a higher sugar content compared to other non-tropical fruits.
A 100g serving provides 81kcal, 20.3g of carbohydrate, 1.4g fibre and 18.1g of natural sugar.
Unripe bananas have a higher starch content. As they ripen, the starch is converted to sugar (and the fruit becomes sweeter). Green bananas are also a good source of pectin, which is a type of dietary fibre found in fruits and helps them keep their structural form. Pectin breaks down when a banana becomes overripe, which causes the fruit to become softer.
Bananas are loaded with valuable micronutrients, especially potassium. Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the body, helping to regulate heart function as well as fluid balance – a key factor in regulating blood pressure. The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, in lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and strokes is well accepted and bolstered by considerable scientific evidence.
Bananas are soothing to the gastrointestinal tract due to their high content of pectin – as soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but normalises bowel function. The high fibre content of bananas promote satiety (feelings of fullness).
The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to fuel the gut bacteria so they increase their production of short chain fatty acids which are beneficial for digestive health.