Banana is a fruit that grows near tropical rainforests. All parts of the plant, including the fruit, leaves, “false stem,” stem, flowers, and roots, can be used as medicine. In North America, most of the available bananas are from one specific variety. However, there are many varieties available around the world. Bananas have been grown as crops for thousands of years.
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. According to the International Glycemic Index Database, ripe bananas have a low GI of 51, with slightly under-ripe bananas even lower at 42; they have a moderate GL of 13 and 11, respectively. Why is the glycemic load score higher if the glycemic index is low? It may be due to the higher carbohydrate content of bananas (there are 28 grams in one medium banana vs. about 19 grams in a medium apple); this will increase the glycemic load. However, the type of carbohydrate in bananas is classified as resistant starch, which functions similarly to dietary fiber. Resistant starch is not broken down in the small intestine so it causes less glucose to be released into the bloodstream. This produces a lower glycemic index and a greater feeling of satiety as the starch is digested slowly.
From their position as a breakfast and brown bag lunch staple to the banana bread-baking revolution that happened during COVID-19, bananas are enjoyed by 90% of Americans – making them the most popular produce and one of the most-purchased items in the supermarket,” said Melanie Marcus, RD, MA, Dole’s nutrition and health communications manager.
According to Marcus, many of those who experienced heightened stress during the past two years discovered the banana’s comforting familiarity and potential ability to improve mood and relieve anxiety. “Bananas contain vitamin B6, which is involved in the creation of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, and research suggests that they can also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress levels. Another study found that foods like bananas that contain prebiotics (a type of fiber that feeds probiotics, the healthful bacteria inside your gut) may also promote more restful sleep.”
Here are some fun ways to add banana to your routine:
- Slice ripe banana into a fruit salad. Squeeze a bit of acid like apple cider vinegar, orange juice, lime, or lemon onto the bananas to prevent darkening too quickly.
- Substitute an equal amount of mashed banana for butter for dense baked goods like muffins, quick breads, and cookies. Using banana may cause the product to bake faster, so check for doneness several minutes earlier than usual or reduce the oven temperature by 25°F. The bananas will also add sweetness, so reduce the amount of added sugar in the recipe by one-quarter to one-half.
- For a frozen treat, slice a peeled ripe banana in half (in the middle) and insert a popsicle stick or skewer into the flat end. Dip banana into yogurt and coat evenly; sprinkle with nuts, chopped dried fruit, cinnamon, or other favorite toppings and freeze for several hours.
- For an easy dairy-free ice cream alternative, peel, chop, and freeze two medium bananas. Place into a blender or food processor and add a few tablespoons of liquid (water, dairy or plant milk, or coconut water). Blend until smooth. Add extra liquid if additional creaminess is desired. For a different flavor, add 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or nut/seed butter, a splash of vanilla extract and cinnamon, or ½ cup frozen berries.
- Check out our salad recipe or the toaster tarts recipe.
Try this fun recipe:
Banana Sushi Rolls with Crispy Rice
- 1 DOLE® Banana, peeled
- 1/4 cup cashew nut butter, almond butter, or nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 to 2 teaspoons crispy rice cereal
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chia seeds
NOTE: Shredded coconut, cacao nibs, ground cinnamon, and granola may also be used as toppings.
- Cut banana into 8 equal pieces.
- Spread cut ends of banana with nut butter or yogurt.
- Dip banana pieces in cereal and chia seeds.
Recipe provide by Dole Food Company