Banana, properties and health benefits

The banana is one of the best known and most consumed fruits. In addition, it is a food with very beneficial properties for our health.

What is the banana?

This fruit of tropical origin that comes from a herbaceous plant of the Musaceae family and the Musa genus.

It has an elongated or slightly curved shape, weighing between 100 and 200 grams. The skin is thick, yellow in color and easy to peel. Also, the pulp is white or yellowish and fleshy.

Also, they are known as ripe bananas, bananas, bananas. gualeles or cambures , according to the place of origin.

Origin of the banana

Sometimes the origin of this fruit in Central America has been cited. However, many Buddhist authors and texts place the origin of these fruits in South Asia and more specifically in India.

The origin of the name comes from the Greek bananas and later, from the Latin platanus . The name is given by the shape of the leaves of the plant that is flat and wide .

It is also known as banana whose term comes from Arabic and which means fingers .

It is not known in the Mediterranean area until after the conquest by the Arabs in 650 AD.

The cultivation began in the Canary Islands in the fifteenth century where it has been cultivated commercially since the end of the nineteenth century. From here it spread to America.

Both the plantain and the banana are also native to Southwest Asia. After commercial expansion, its cultivation has spread to many regions of Central and South America. Also to subtropical Africa, constituting the base of the feeding of many regions.

Banana cultivation

Banana is one of the most common crops in all countries with a tropical climate. In addition, we can affirm that it is one of the main crops globally after foods such as rice, wheat or corn.

More than 113 million tons are produced worldwide per year. The country with the highest production is India with almost 30 million tons each year. China ranks second with more than 13 million tons.

Spain ranks 31st with almost 400 thousand tons per year of a Canarian banana of excellent quality.

Banana season

If the cultivation is carried out in tropical areas, the season for these tropical fruits is throughout the year.

The vast majority of bananas grown in Spain come from the Canary Islands. They are collected throughout the year.

You can check the calendar of the  fruit season  to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with  more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

Banana varieties

There are different varieties of bananas, among which we can highlight the following, since they are the most common.

  • Gros Michel
  • Cavendish
  • Guineo
  • Dwarf or dominican
  • Plantain
  • Red banana
  • Tabasco
  • Others

Gros Michel

Gros Michel is the lost banana of the past. It was the world’s leading banana, but at the beginning of the 20th century, diseases destroyed most of the plantations. It was a shame, as this variety tastes better than many of the modern varieties.

It is still cultivated in some regions of Colombia and Ecuador.


It is a much more resistant variety than the previous one , but they are a less intense flavor and with a larger size.

Cavendish bananas can be eaten raw as a dessert or snack. They do not need to be cooked for consumption. It is the most cultivated variety worldwide. They are yellow when mature and characteristic brown or black spots may appear.

In the Canary Islands, most of the bananas that are grown are from this group, specifically four of its five types:

  • Lacatán
  • Poyo
  • Big dwarf
  • Little dwarf

The fifth variety is the Gros Michel, which has managed to maintain its cultivation, although in small numbers.


Originally from Asia, currently Brazil and Kenya export it throughout the year. The fruit is medium in size, with very thin skin and with a certain apple flavor.

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Dominican or dwarf

Its cultivation is common in Mexico. It is small in size and very sweet. It is widely used for confectionery and in the preparation of sweet drink recipes.

It is very rich in vitamins of group B, vitamin C and E. Its high content of magnesium stands out.


The male banana stands out for being the largest and heaviest. Its skin is thick and its pulp is more rigid. In addition, its flavor varies a lot with the rest because it is less sweet. It is green, yellow or with violet tones.

It is used in different recipes, cooked, fried, grilled or porridge, but it is not eaten raw. Nutritionally, it offers a high content of potassium and vitamin A. Also in fiber, manganese and vitamin B6.

In Spain, its use is beginning to be known and normalized. However, in tropical countries its use is very frequent in different recipes.

Red banana

A very common variety in the American continent. Little by little it is gaining market in Europe and we can see it more and more in our markets. In the Canary Islands, they already have stable crops of this variety.

It is characterized by its thick skin and its reddish color. The taste is somewhat different with hints of red fruits .

Its consumption can be both raw and in different recipes. Nutritionally it is highly recommended as it is rich in minerals and low in fat.

Other types of bananas

We can also highlight other varieties that, although less frequent, we cannot forget about them.

The Tabasco banana or Roatán banana, which gets its name from the state of Mexico that produces it, Tabasco. We cannot stop talking about the following varieties:

  • Mysore
  • Bluggoe
  • Orinoco
  • Rhino horn

How to buy bananas?

These sweet fruits continue to ripen after they are picked. For this reason, brown spots are not an indicator of either the taste or the quality of the product.

It is also true that the longer the fruit spends on the plant, the more sugars it accumulates and the more intense color it gets. For this reason, it is recommended to eat nearby bananas.

Before buying, it is important to know when we are going to consume them. If it is the same day or the next day, we can select them yellow without green tones, since it is a sign that they are very ripe and tasty.

If we are going to consume them in a longer period, it is important to buy them with some green tones. However, it is not recommended to buy them completely green.


It is best to keep it at room temperature in a cool, dry place without direct sunlight.

If we keep it in the bunch, it will help us to extend the life of these fruits , since it always begins to ripen from the peduncle.

If we need it to ripen more quickly, as with other fruits, we can combine them with apples that help their ripening process.

How do you eat the banana?

If it is eaten raw, we recommend that it is not too green, as it can affect the digestion process. On the contrary, if it is very ripe, it may lose part of its nutrients.

How are peeled bananas?

You can probably sometimes use a knife to pearl it. It is because you may not know that it is the most ideal way for us.

Banana is the easy-to-consume fruit par excellence. We can take it anywhere that we can always eat it in a very simple way.

We teach you a very simple trick to remove the skin and easily enjoy this delicacy.

A banana or banana opens in two seconds if instead of starting at the stem, it opens at the bottom tip. Simply by pressing a little with your fingers on that part of the bottom of the fruit , you can tear the skin, extracting the pulp in a simple way.

Are the strands eaten?

It is advisable not to discard the threads or threads of the banana , since they provide us with healthy nutrients.

These filaments that some discard are rich in vitamins B6, calcium, antioxidants and fiber.

Banana properties

Each banana provides us with approximately 100 calories. Very rich in water and with practically no fat.

However, this fruit stands out for its high caloric value due to the carbohydrates it provides.

It is a food source of numerous vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber , all of which are very beneficial for our health.

The minerals that we can highlight in its composition are potassium, magnesium and to a lesser extent, phosphorus. On the other hand, it is also rich in folic acid, vitamin C and in less quantity, of vitamin B6.

It includes protein in a small amount, although it is 3% of the recommended daily amount.

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The pulp of the plantain contains simple sugars that give it its sweet taste. These are glucose, dextrose, and sucrose. These sugars are transformed into energy in a simple and immediate way.

For this reason, its consumption is recommended to athletes and people who need to recover after physical exercise or who are doing it.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of banana

Calories122 kcal
Total fat0 g
Carbohydrates31.9 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium4 mg
Water65.28 mg
Protein1.30 g
Vit. TO1127 UI
Lives. VS18.4 mg
White. B922 mg
Calcium3 mg
Potassium499 mg
Match34 mg
Sodium4 mg
Selenium1.5 µg

Banana benefits

Banana is a highly recommended fruit for the whole family thanks to its nutritional properties with different benefits for our health.

Among its benefits we can highlight the following:

1. Favorable to moderate blood sugar

People with diabetes can eat bananas, but in moderation. The sugar in this food is no longer considered a problem, since a well-balanced diet adapted to each person. You can distribute the daily carbohydrates to accommodate their consumption.

In its nutritional composition we highlight the fiber content . This is the case of pectin, which, together with starch, can moderate blood sugar levels after meals. [1]

Depending on the ripening of the banana, we can classify it with a low or medium glycemic index (GI). Therefore, they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels in healthy people.

However, people with type 2 diabetes should moderate the consumption of these fruits and consult with a nutritionist or their doctor.

2. For digestive health

The dietary fiber in these foods is ideal for general health and digestion in particular. [2]

3. For weight loss diets

Their nutritional composition makes them favorable to include them in weight loss diets. However, there are no studies that support that bananas help you lose weight.

They do not contribute too many calories, approximately 100 calories per piece. However, it is very satisfying and nutritious. [3]

4. For a strong heart

When we talk about potassium , we treat it as an essential mineral for heart health.

Banana is a natural source of potassium that can help lower blood pressure. [4]

On the other hand, the magnesium that this fruit also provides us, is favorable for maintaining a healthy heart and avoiding certain diseases related to heart health. [5]

5. Rich in antioxidants

One of the properties of fruits is that they are rich in antioxidants. The banana is no exception.

They provide us with antioxidants that help us reduce free radicals and therefore reduce the risk of certain diseases.

We can highlight two powerful antioxidants such as catechins or dopamine. [6]

6. Supports kidney function

Another quality of potassium is that, in addition to controlling blood pressure, it can improve kidney function , as this study shows. [7]

7. Food for athletes

Thanks to its vitamins, minerals and easily digestible carbohydrates, it is a perfect food for athletes.

It is known among those who do sports frequently that bananas help reduce muscle cramps. [8]

In short, they are nutritionally very complete foods. Therefore, they are ideal for athletes. It can be consumed before, after or during exercise.


These fruits are very popular all over the world and provide us with numerous health benefits.

Of all its benefits, we highlight that they are favorable for digestive and heart health due to its fiber and antioxidant content.

Although it may seem surprising, they can help you lose weight , since they are relatively low in calories and rich in nutrients.

Ripe bananas are an excellent way to satisfy your sweet tooth for their sweet taste . In addition, all the varieties stand out for being very healthy, so we always recommend their consumption.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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