Available all year round, bananas should be plump. The skin of the banana should be free of bruises as well as black and brown spots. Bananas should be purchased green and allowed to ripen at home.

Bananas are the most popular fresh fruit in the United States. They have a peel that comes off easily, they ripen after they’ve been picked, there is a generous supply all year, and they are inexpensive.

Bananas have both a high amount of carbohydrates as well as potassium, which also makes them the fruit of choice for many athletes. Source: Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, 1992

The scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which means “Fruit of the Wise Men”. The word banana comes from an Arab word “banan” meaning finger.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Europeans knew the banana as the “Indian Fig”.

The very popular yellow banana of Cavendish is the banana we see in grocery stores. However, Plantains, Finger Bananas and Red Bananas are also popular varieties. Most have a soft texture when ripe.

Bananas may be ripened at room temperature until they reach the desired stage, then refrigerated and used in a short period of time. Refrigeration may darken the outside of the bananas, but this will not affect the fruit on the inside. In fact, refrigeration allows for longer storage of bananas.

Bananas: Rich in Nutrients

Bananas are rich in fiber, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.

Banana Nutrition

  • bananas Sodium-free.
  • Fat free.
  • Cholesterol free.
  • Rich in potassium.
  • High in fiber.
  • High in iron.
  • Gives flagging energy levels a boost.
  • Sugars are all natural.

Did you know? The average American eats 12kg of bananas every year, and the average Australian eats almost 15kg of bananas every year.

Bananas Aid Detox

Bananas strengthen and soothe the stomach while offering plenty of minerals needed for optimal cleansing. The mineral potassium, plentiful in bananas, helps regulate fluid in your body and reduces fluid buildup in tissues. Excess fluid in the tissues means more stored toxins. Bananas also have antibiotic activity to help kill harmful bacteria residing in the intestines.

Banana Varieties

The very popular yellow banana of Cavendish is the banana we see in grocery stores. However, Plantains, Finger Bananas and Red Bananas are also popular varieties. Most have a soft texture when ripe.

Selecting Bananas

Avoid bananas with brown spots that seem very soft. Select those bananas with a nice color, specific for the variety. Choose fruit that is firm and free of bruises. Best eating quality has been reached when the solid yellow skin color is speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.

Storing Bananas

Store bananas at room temperature. To ripen bananas quickly, place them in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight. The two will work together to speed each other’s ripening. As bananas ripen, the starch in the fruit turns to sugar. Therefore, the riper the banana the sweeter it will taste.

Bananas get over-ripe on you sometimes? Don’t toss them! Place them in your freezer, skins and all. They will turn black, but they work well this way for baking. To use for baking, remove them from the freezer, place on a plate for about half-an-hour. Then split the skins and they come right out — and you won’t even need to mash them! Try it, it works!

When your bananas have turned the color you want, but you can’t use them right away, store them in your refrigerator. The skin will darken, but the bananas will stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Sweet varieties are eaten out of hand and range in size and color dramatically. Cooking varieties, called plaintains, are not sweet at all, very firm and starchy.

Quite literally, the banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. For example, if your kids have a tough time falling asleep, give them a banana. Like a cup of warm milk, a banana is a sleep enhancer.

Banana Blossoms

banana blossomBanana Blossom is the flower that grows at the end of a banana cluster, which is both edible and a frequent ingredient in Southeast Asian and Indian cooking. It can be used in soups, salads, stews and curries and possess a slightly bitter flavor, most likened to artichoke.

Quick Banana Facts

  • The banana peel contains the finest natural lubricant known to man. You can use the inside of a banana peel to polish patent leather shoes.
  • Bananas are the world’s best-selling fruit, outranking the apple and orange.
  • A peanut butter and banana sandwich drizzled with honey is an all-time favorite comfort food.
  • Bananas are harvested green because they keep ripening even after they are picked.
  • Add chopped bananas, walnuts and maple syrup to oatmeal.
  • If you want to ripen bananas even more quickly, wrap them in a wet paper towel and place them into a brown paper sack.
  • Bananas were often given to immigrants at Ellis Island who had never seen the tropical fruit before and ate it peel and all.
  • The new size of miniature bananas now appearing in supermarkets has more taste than many of the larger ones.
  • Bananas are one of the few foods to contain the 6 major vitamin groups.
  • If you peel a banana from the bottom up you won’t get the string things. Those stringy things are called phloem (pronounced FLOM).
  • An individual banana is called a finger. A bunch of bananas is called a hand.
  • Americans consume 25 pounds of bananas per person annually.
  • In Eastern Africa you can buy banana beer. This beer is brewed from bananas.
  • Bananas contain less water than most other fruits.
  • Bananas are a type of berry from a tree classified as an herb tree which can grow up to 30 feet high.
  • Bananas are the largest plant in the world without a woody stem.
  • In South East Asia, the banana leaf is used to wrap food (in the place of plastic bags and cling wraps), providing a unique flavor and aroma to nasi lemak and the Indian banana leaf rice.
  • In the former Belgian Congo European soldiers during colonial times used the sap from the banana plant to heal wounds made by arrows of the natives.
  • The sap of the fe’i banana is reddish in color and was once used by missionaries to make copies of the Bible by dipping bamboo pens in the red sap.
  • Banana Chips are usually fried in coconut oil and is not a good nutritious snack like a banana or air dried banana chips. One ounce of fried chips can have as much as 150 calories and up to 10 grams of fat, much of which is saturated. You can purchase healthier versions now. Check food labels.

Fun Banana Facts

  • In 1986, a discount electronics store called Silo ran a television ad in Seattle, Washington and El Paso, Texas. The add offered a stereo system for “200 bananas”. Dozens of consumers lined up outside the stores with bags of bananas! This compelled Silo to honor the offer, losing 10,465 dollars.
  • The phrase going bananas was first recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary because of the banana’s connection with monkeys.
  • A man in India once ate 81 bananas in a half an hour.
  • Brisbane holds the world record for the longest banana split ever made – a giant 7.3 km long!
  • Reindeers like eating bananas.
  • The white tube at the very heart of the trunk of a banana “tree” can be cooked into a treat similar to bamboo shoots.
  • In 2001, there were more than 300 banana-related accidents in Britain, most involving people slipping on skins.
  • The banana fits the botanical definition of a berry.

Did You Know?

The earliest dessert recipe ever written was a banana recipe! It was a soft, mushy mixture of bananas, almonds and honey.

Banana Varieties

There are in excess of 500 banana varieties in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes, from small finger fruits to purple plantains. The most common are listed below:

  • Cavandish:  This is the standard banana that is most purchased and for the most part is grown in South America.
  • Manzano:  Called finger bananas and turn black when they are ripe.
  • Plantains:  Very large green bananas and turn black when they are ripe.
  • Red Bananas:  Not usually as curved, they turn a purplish color when ripe. Sweet tasting.

Chef’s Secrets for Bananas

  • To reduce the amount of food discolorization, slice bananas, apples, pears, plums and peaches with a stainless steel knife, then either combine them with any citrus fruit or sprinkle them with lemon or pineapple juice. Refrigerate as soon as possible.
  • If a green banana is placed next to a ripe banana, it will ripen more quickly.
  • Unpeeled bananas will last longer if stored in the refrigerator in a sealed jar.
  • If you slice bananas with a sterling silver knife they will not darken as fast. Old wives tale?
Banana Nutrition Facts 2022

Banana FAQs

What are the benefits of bananas?

Bananas are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. 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

Why are bananas bad for you?

Bananas are a sugary fruit, so eating too many and not maintaining proper dental hygiene practices can lead to tooth decay. They also do not contain enough fat or protein to be a healthy meal on their own, or an effective post-workout snack. Eating bananas becomes significantly risky only if you eat too many.

Is it good to eat banana everyday?

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They’re full important nutrients, but eating too many could end up doing more harm than good. Too much of any single food may contribute to weight gain and nutrient deficiencies. One to two bananas per day is considered a moderate intake for most healthy people.

Is banana good for females?

Bananas can aid digestion and help beat gastrointestinal issues. A medium banana will provide about 10-12% of your daily fibre needs. Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recommends a daily dietary fibre intake of 20g for women and 26g for men. Soluble and insoluble fibres play an important role in your health.

What is the best time to eat banana?

But it’s best to avoid eating bananas for dinner, or after dinner. It may lead to mucus formation, and indigestion. Nutritionist Nishi Grover recommends that one should have bananas before workouts to get some energy, but never at night.

What are the side effects of banana?

Side effects to banana are rare but may include bloating, gas, cramping, softer stools, nausea, and vomiting. In very high doses, bananas might cause high blood levels of potassium. Some people are allergic to banana.

Is it good to eat banana on empty stomach?

Best known as a super-food, banana satiates hunger and is good for digestion. Bananas contain high amounts of magnesium and potassium and when eaten empty stomach, can imbalance magnesium and potassium levels in our blood.

Do bananas make you fat?

There is no scientific evidence that eating bananas may cause weight gain. Bananas contain a minimal amount of fats. The carbohydrate content in a ripe banana is around 28 grams per 100-gram serving. The total calorie content in 100 g of bananas is around 110 calories.

Is an apple or a banana better for you?

Banana health benefits far outweigh those of the apple. That’s because they have many more vitamins and nutrients than their round counterparts. Bananas have twice as many carbohydrates, 5 times as much Vitamin A and iron, and 3 times as much phosphorus as apples.

How does banana help hair?

Bananas contain silica, a mineral element that helps your body to synthesize collagen and may make your hair stronger and thicker. Bananas also have antimicrobial properties that can heal flaky and dry scalp, relieving dandruff symptoms.

Do bananas help you sleep?

Bananas are rich in sleep-promoting nutrients like magnesium, tryptophan, vitamin B6, carbs, and potassium, all of which have been linked to improved sleep.

Is banana good for skin?

Makes skin soft: In bananas, potassium and manganese are found in abundance, which are very essential elements for making our skin soft and healthy. Manganese helps in increasing the amount of collagen in human skin. … Bananas contain Vitamin C which is known to be beneficial to the skin

Who should not eat banana?

Some medical conditions can result in people having a high level of potassium in the blood. In that case, it will be wise to refrain from taking bananas. And contrary to popular belief, a person with diabetes can eat bananas as long as the carbohydrate contents are accounted for.

Can we eat apple and banana together?

Mixing acidic fruits like strawberries and grapefruits or sub-acidic fruits like peaches, apples and pomegranates with sweet fruits like bananas can hamper your digestion. Eating them together is found to have caused headaches, nausea and acidosis.

Can banana cause diabetes?

Bananas have a low GI score, and this the fruit to be an appropriate choice for diabetics. Dietitian Upasana Sharma, Head Nutritionist at Max Hospital says, “Banana contains sugar and carbs. But it is rich in fibre and has a low glycemic index. Diabetics can eat banana, but in moderation.”

Will bananas help you poop?

“But ripe bananas are very high in soluble fiber, which in some cases can help to push waste through the bowels, so bananas can also be helpful in eliminating constipation issues.” For constipation relief, be sure to pick bananas that are good and ripe.

Which banana is best?

In one of the polls conducted by the Times of India regarding the healthiest banana, a majority of people leaned towards the spotted bananas, calling them the healthiest choice of bananas, while in reality, it is the brown variety that packs the most antioxidants.

Is eating bananas at night bad?

There is no scientific proof that eating bananas at night can be harmful to your health. But as per Ayurveda, banana can lead to mucus production and eating this fruit at night can choke your throat. Apart from this, banana is a heavy fruit and our stomach takes a lot of time to digest it.

Can I rub banana peel on my face?

According to Healthline, banana peel, rich in antioxidants, fibre and essential nutrients, helps brighten the skin and reduce wrinkles. … “Gently rub the inside of banana peels (the white part) on your face. Allow to remain for about 15 mins and then wash off with cold water,” Bhagyashree suggested.

Read More: Food Facts

In Summary

  • If you want a quick fix for flagging energy levels, there is no better snack than a banana. Research has proven that just 2 bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.
  • Energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions making it a must to add to your daily diet.

Suggested Uses for Bananas

Toast whole grain bread, bagel or English muffin and serve with peanut butter – for an added nutrition boost, add banana slices or raisins.

Peanut Butter Burrito

Easy to fix and healthy too! Take a large-size soft tortilla, spread peanut butter over one side. Peel and insert a banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon and roll up.

Jell-O Banana Split Cups

To one serving of Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding, stir in banana slices, a dollop of fat free Cool Whip Whipped Topping and any sundae topping.

Creamy Banana Whip and Sticks

Mash one banana in small bowl with fork. Gently stir in 2-tablespoons thawed Cool Whip. Serve with eight graham honey sticks. Makes one serving.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas

This is great and healthful summer time treat for kids of all ages. You can’t get much healthier than a banana and we all know chocolate can be good for you, too.

  • 4 large bananas, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
  • 3/4 cup light hot fudge topping

Freeze bananas thoroughly. Dip in topping and place in freezer until topping is firm. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings. Serving size: 1 Frozen Chocolate Banana.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 166, fat 2.0g, cholesterol 0mg, protein 4.2g, carbohydrates 92.9g, fiber 10.8g, sugar 75.5g, sodium 63mg. Dietary Exchanges: Fruit: 4.2, Sugar: 1.5

Banana Nut Smoothie

  • 2 bananas, ripe
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon plain yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ice cubes Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients, except nutmeg, in blender. Cover and run on high until smooth and well-blended. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 177, Total Fat 5g, Calories from Fat 23%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 41mg.

Old-Fashioned Plain Banana Smoothie

  • 1 banana, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients till creamy and serve immediately. Servings: 1 cup.

Low Calorie Banana Milk Shake

  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup dried milk, non-fat

Combine all ingredients in electric blender. Cover and blend on high speed until thick and smooth. For extra creaminess, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup fat free Cool Whip.

Banana Nut Shake

  • 2 bananas
  • 4 pitted dates (soaked for at least half an hour)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • Water

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Add water until desired consistency is reached.

Banana Fruit Pops

  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 1-1/4 cup fruit juice (such as orange, pineapple, cranberry, apricot or grape)
  • 8 popsicle sticks

Place bananas and fruit juice of your choice in container of an electric blender. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth. Divide mixture evenly among six to eight 4-ounce paper or plastic cups. Place in freezer and when partially frozen place a popsicle stick in center of each cup. Freeze until firm. Let stand at room temperature for five minutes before removing cups and serving.

Banana Berry Sorbet

Cut 3 large ripe bananas into chunks and freeze. Transfer to food processor with 1-1/2 cup frozen strawberries and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Puree until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

“There is nothing so delicious as a banana”. –Sir Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)