banansBy Mary-Ann Shearer

Go Bananas, it’s good for your health!

When asked by a medical doctor, what, in his opinion, was the healthiest food to eat, Dr. Louis Meiring (a chemical pathologist) answered, “a ripe banana”. Dr. Meiring maintains that ripe bananas leave the best chemical residue and balance in the blood stream.

Firstly what is a ripe banana?

It must have freckles on the skin,. This indicates that the starch in the banana has dextrinised, or made it easy to digest. It must peel easily. The skin almost falls off.

The flesh is still firm but there is no bitter or dry after taste. Eating a banana that is not properly ripe can result in digestive discomfort and or mucous problems.

Bananas also leave the right alkaline residue in the blood stream and contain the following nutrients:

Bananas are picked green and either allowed to ripen slowly as they give off their own Ethylene gas or they are ripened quickly in rooms of ethylene gas. There is no known possible side effect or danger as the gas is the same as the bananas give off naturally. Tree ripened bananas are said to be NOT as sweet as those picked green. Bananas left on the tree to ripen tend to split and are subject to infestation.

Store ripe bananas in the fridge or peel and freeze. Ripen in a warm place. To ripen quickly, place in a brown paper bag. The natural gas will be trapped and ripen the bananas quicker.

Eat them on their own or freeze when very ripe (remove the skins first) and add to fruit shakes or make banana ice-cream. See Recipe books 1 & 2 for more ideas

Description & storage
Long thick-skinned edible fruit that is yellow when ripe.
Keep bananas on a fruit dish in the living room at room temperature. If you want the bananas to ripen faster place the bowl in the sun. Like other tropical fruits and tomatoes and bell peppers, never store bananas in the refrigerator. Below 8 degrees Celsius the fruit will decay from the inside. These fruits will not ripen but will turn black in the refrigerator.

Banana-plants can grow up to 15 m. but most plants vary from 3 to 9 m.
It has very big leafs that can grow to 4 x 1 m.

Short history
Wild forms of the banana plant come originally from the Indo-Malaysian area and are now cultivated all over the tropical and sub-tropical continents.

Bananas are delicious eaten with one’s fingers after peeling off the skin. Depending on the type of banana unripe bananas are also cooked, fried or deep-fried a lot. Bananas are the basic food in many tropical countries.

At this moment there are five different types of bananas common on the market:

  • Red bananas: have a green/red peel and pink fruit flesh. They taste the same like yellow bananas. The redder a fruit, the more carotene it contains, so maybe they are healthier than their yellow colleagues;
  • Fruit-bananas: are the normal, yellow bananas, 15-30 cm.
  • Apple-bananas: are smaller, 8-10 cm., and ripen faster. They are also yellow;
  • The baby-banana (pisang susa): is yellow as well and measures 6-8 cm. It is the sweetest of the banana family;
  • Baking bananas: are 30 to 40 cm. large and are green, yellow or red-like. They cannot be eaten raw. They fulfill the role of the potato in the tropical countries.

Peculiar characteristics

  • Is the most well known and eaten (tropical) fruit;
  • In Eastern Africa you can buy banana beer. This beer is brewed from bananas;
  • Tropical fruit is usually picked unripe and has to ripen in the land of arrival. To make this process go faster bananas are treated with ethylene-gas. Normal bananas also ripen through ethylene -gas but exposing it to additional gas accelerates the process;
  • Is the (only) fruit that for some people can work fatting because they contain a lot of starch (more starch than sugar). Those people shouldn’t eat too many bananas a day;
  • Eat at least one banana a day, they are said to contain everything a human needs and they contain all the 8 amino-acids our body cannot produce itself. For more see the energy in fruit.
  • Bananas are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C;
  • Red bananas are often dried and converted to meal which is used in many ways;
  • Red bananas contain more vitamin C as yellow bananas (the redder a fruit, the more nutritious elements it contains);


These are just the known nutrients, there are many unknown phytonutrients.


NDB No:     09040
Bananas, rawScientific Name:     Musa X paradisiaca


NutrientUnitsValue per
100 grams of
edible portion
Total lipid (fat)g0.48110.135
Carbohydrate, by differenceg23.430
Fiber, total dietaryg2.40
Calcium, Camg650.374
Iron, Femg0.311080.015
Magnesium, Mgmg291031.265
Phosphorus, Pmg20102
Potassium, Kmg396556.356
Sodium, Namg1610.141
Zinc, Znmg0.16130.008
Copper, Cumg0.1041090.009
Manganese, Mnmg0.1521030.015
Selenium, Semcg1.1190.275
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg9.1140.339
Pantothenic acidmg0.2600
Vitamin B-6mg0.5784
Folate, totalmcg19112.746
Folic acidmcg00
Folate, foodmcg19112.746
Folate, DFEmcg_DFE190
Vitamin B-12mcg0.000
Vitamin A, IUIU81510.050
Vitamin A, REmcg_RE851.005
Vitamin Emg_ATE0.2700
Tocopherol, alphamg0.270
Fatty acids, total saturatedg0.1850
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg0.0410
16:1 undifferentiatedg0.0125
18:1 undifferentiatedg0.0275
22:1 undifferentiatedg0.0000
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg0.0890
18:2 undifferentiatedg0.0565
18:3 undifferentiatedg0.0335
20:4 undifferentiatedg0.0000
20:5 n-3g0.0000
22:5 n-3g0.0000
22:6 n-3g0.0000
Amino acids
Aspartic acidg0.1133
Glutamic acidg0.1113


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