How often is it that we hear that bananas cause constipation? But did you know that bananas can also help relieve constipation?
Yes, opposed to popular opinion, all kinds of bananas do not cause constipation. Components in different kinds of bananas have different impacts on our physiology. Thus, bananas may be good or bad for constipation.
There are two theories regarding the role of bananas in gut health. The first one relies on the number of bananas you take, and the other one considers the state of the bananas.
Let’s tell you which bananas are good for constipation and which are not.
One Banana vs Two Bananas
Oldwife tales say eating one banana is associated with constipation, while two bananas improve intestine motility and relieve constipation. However, there is no scientific evidence for it, but many people believe in it.
Ripe vs Unripe Bananas
Studies show that unripe bananas are rich in resistant starch that passes the stomach undigested. Thus, unripe green bananas are chosen as a remedy to relieve diarrhea in infants.
As the banana ripens, the fiber content increases, and resistant starches convert into sugars. Ripened bananas improve bowel movement by allowing the microvilli in the small intestine to function better. It helps relieve constipation by easing the movement of food through the GIT.
Bananas for Constipation
Constipation refers to three or fewer bowel movements per week. It may also be accompanied by difficult-to-pass, hard, and dry stools. Adding fiber-rich foods to your diet can help relieve constipation without medical intervention.
One thing that people often wonder is how many bananas to take to improve bowel movement. Bananas are rich in fiber and not very heavy on the pocket. You can obtain 3 grams of fiber from a medium banana. Bananas contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers solubilize and give a sticky consistency to the bowel for easy excretion.
On the other hand, insoluble fibers do not get digested and promote GI motility to facilitate movement. They also contain sorbitol which acts as a natural laxative and increases the water content in your stool. Moreover, potassium also contributes to bowel movement and convenient defecation.
Besides having high amounts of fiber, bananas are also quite filling. Despite having only 23 g of carbs in 100 calories, bananas make you fuller and satisfy your appetite.
How to Choose Bananas for Constipation?
You might have noticed that bananas are often green, yellow, and sometimes brown. The color of the banana depends on the stage of its lifecycle.
Green bananas are unripe bananas and contain a high amount of prebiotics. They majorly comprise resistant carbs, which may leave you constipated. So, they are not a good choice for constipation but for diarrhea.
The banana begins to turn yellow as it ripens. It tastes sweeter, resistant starches turn into sugars, and these bananas are fiber-rich. They also have a high amount of antioxidants. Yellow bananas are the best pick to improve bowel movement.
Brown bananas are not usually the best choice for people because of their appearance. But did you know that they are the sweetest? Additionally, they also contain a high amount of antioxidants and fiber.
How to Use Bananas for Constipation?
You can use bananas for constipation on their own or with other food combinations. Here are a few ways to consume bananas to relieve constipation.
Eat on its Own
The simplest way is to eat bananas on their own. You can eat two to three bananas daily to improve your bowel movement quality.
Banana and Yogurt
Bananas and yogurt are widely adapted to relieve constipation in the subcontinent. Mash the banana with a fork and mix it with one cup of curd. Make sure that the curd is not too sour. You may also add some sugar to enhance palatability.
Banana with Peanut Butter
If you do not like curd, you can do the same with peanut butter. Slice or mash bananas in a bowl and top them with peanut butter. It is suggested to take this after your meal, once a day.
A banana milkshake is not the best choice for constipation, and it does not work for everyone. Some people suggest maintaining a gap between milk and banana intake, while others suggest that banana milkshake helps them improve GI motility. However, there is not much evidence, and you should not continue banana milkshakes if it does not help.
Is it Safe to Give Ripe Bananas to Infants?
Bananas are considered excellent weaning foods for children that you can start as early as six months. It is easier to mash and be digested by children. Also, its fiber-rich nutrients help regulate stools in children. To make it softer, you may add milk, yogurt, or water to the banana. But, make sure that your child is not allergic to bananas and consult a pediatrician.
The Bottom Line
Bananas have high fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. They also contain sorbitol which acts as a natural laxative. However, green bananas are believed to cause constipation, while yellow bananas relieve constipation due to their higher fiber content. Bananas are also safe to be given to children to regulate GI movement.
What is the best time to eat a banana for constipation?
Breakfast is the best time to consume bananas to relieve constipation. You can eat the banana as a whole or mash it with curd. Banana and peanut butter is also suitable choice for constipation relief.
Does banana remove constipation?
Yellow bananas are high in fiber, making them the perfect choice to relieve constipation, thus helping you poop immediately. Brown bananas can also help remove constipation. But green bananas are low on fiber and high in resistant starches. So, green bananas cause constipation and relieve diarrhea.
What foods make constipation worse?
A low-fiber diet is the main cause of prolonged constipation. Eating a high amount of dairy products, high-fat meats, and processed foods may also disturb GI motility. You might not know that adding a lot of fiber to your diet may also lead to constipation. Increasing your fluid intake, such as water, can help relieve constipation without medical intervention.
Meet me; I am Paulina Zaniewska, who’s more hooked on providing the best health blog. I’ve always been so determined to compete as a nutritionist, and here I am, done with a Master’s in food technology. My brilliant performance throughout encouraged me to help people.