In this brief article we will answer the query,” Is banana a fruit?” We will explain why bananas are not thought of as fruits. We will also look at the nutritional profile of bananas. We will finally briefly discuss the health benefits of consuming bananas.
Is a banana a fruit?
Yes, bananas are fruits which are botanically classified as berries. All berries are fruits. For a fruit to be considered a berry it must come from one single ovary and also be enclosed by a soft exocarp and have a fleshy mesocarp. Bananas tick all the boxes and are thus classified as berries.
Why are bananas not considered as berries by many people?
A lot of people do not consider bananas as berries because they think of berries as small fruits such as raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. However, indeed bananas fall in the same berry category as the aforementioned berries.
Bananas develop from flowers that have many ovaries instead of flowers with just a single ovary. This is the reason they appear clustered and categorized as aggregate fruits.
Another reason why people don’t consider bananas to be berries is that bananas and other fruits that fall under the berry classification do not contain the word berry and are therefore not thought of as berries by most people.
What is the nutritional profile of bananas?
Bananas are very healthy fruits, they are choking full with fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium and also potent antioxidants and phytonutrients.
The nutrition profile for 1 medium-sized banana which is an equivalent of 100 grams is as below:
- Calories: 89
- Water: 75 percent
- Protein: 1.1 grams
- Carbohydrates: 22.8 grams
- Sugar: 12.2 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2.6 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
What are the health benefits of bananas?
Good for heart health
Bananas contain the essential mineral potassium which is good for the health of the heart and also promotes normal blood pressure. Bananas are also high in dietary fiber, folate and antioxidants such as Vitamin C which all promote a healthy heart.
A review done back in 2017 found that people that consumed a diet which is high in fiber had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than those on a low fiber diet. People tht consumed a lot of fiber also had low levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
Additionally , bananas also contain antioxidants known as flavonoids which have been linked with a decrease in heart disease risk.
Good for digestive health
Unripe and green bananas are good sources of resistant starch and pectin both of these are types of fiber. Both of these dietary fibers are prebiotic nutrients that boost the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
In the digestive tract these dietary fibers are fermented by good bacteria that form butyrate which is a short-chain fatty acid that boosts good digestive health.
They can help manage diabetes
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the consumption of fiber rich fruits such as bananas. They have associated the consumption of high fiber foods with lower blood sugar levels.
A review done in 2018 deduced that consumption of a high fiber diet helped in reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as well as a lower blood sugar level in people who already have diabetes.
They help boost memory and good moods
Bananas are a good source of an amino acid known as tryptophan. This amino acid has been linked with some benefits such as preserving memory and helping boost a person’s ability to learn and remember stuff. It also helps in regulation of moods.
They can help reduce the risk of cancer
Some lab studies have suggested that a protein present in bananas known as lectin can assist in the prevention of growth of leukemia cells.
Lectin is a powerful antioxidant and can help in the neutralization of free radicals in the cells. A build up of too many free radicals in the body can lead to cell damage and result in cancer.
A study done in 20024, found that children who consumed bananas and orange juice both had a lower risk of developing leukemia. This can be attributed to the Vitamin C content which also has antioxidant properties.
In this brief article we have answered the query,” Is banana a fruit?” We have explained why bananas are not thought of as fruits. We have also talked about the nutritional composition of bananas. We have finally briefly discussed the health benefits of consuming bananas.