Bananas have been eaten, in one form or another, since ancient times. In fact, they may have been one of the first food sources for ancient man. Today, bananas are America's most popular fresh fruit, rivaled only by apples.
However, a growing trend in banana preparation is taking the world by storm: boiled bananas.
Regions like Cameroon, which rely heavily on bananas and plantains as a main source of nutrition, have been preparing bananas in a variety of ways for years. In the United States, on the other hand, boiled bananas are a relatively new idea.
Bloggers and news outlets alike tout the supposed benefits of boiled bananas and, specifically, tea made from boiled bananas. But how much of what they claim is actually true? Let's take a look at the actual health benefits of boiled bananas.
Currently, it's not clear exactly what the process of boiling bananas does to its nutritional content. Our best frame of reference for the nutrition of boiled bananas is based on the nutritional content of fresh bananas.
You can eat boiled bananas or make tea with them.
Bananas prepared in all ways have been shown to be a good source of:
One medium boiled or fresh banana contains:
- 105 calories
- Zero grams of fat and cholesterol
- 1 gram of protein
- 422 milligrams of potassium
Initial studies on the effects of boiling bananas show that it can affect nutritional value to some extent. For example, one study shows that boiling bananas can improve the banana's release of vitamin A. Further research is needed to fully understand how the boiling process affects the other nutrients in bananas.
Potential Health Benefits of Boiled Bananas
While the jury is still out on whether boiled bananas are more or less healthy than fresh bananas, the added variety that comes from boiling bananas may encourage you to eat them more often than you otherwise would.
Here are just a few of the ways boiled bananas can help your health:
They can help your digestion. Green bananas, in particular, have been shown to help with diarrhea. Bananas are also packed with fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics, all of which help with digestion.. For people with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, eating foods that aid with digestion may be particularly important.
They can help lower your blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can raise your chances of heart disease and stroke. The high levels of potassium in bananas can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
They can help keep your cholesterol levels healthy. One major benefit of eating boiled bananas is that it may encourage you to choose underripe, green bananas, which have many health benefits. These include reducing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. However, these additional health benefits of green bananas — and whether they're limited to certain types of bananas — are still being explored.
Potential Risks of Boiled Bananas
Although bananas are generally considered a healthy food, too much of anything can be a bad thing.
Bananas are packed with fiber. Although fiber generally aids with digestion, too much fiber, or adding fiber to your diet too quickly, can cause stomach cramps and bloating, especially for people with digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
Your best bet is to add any new foods to your diet slowly and stick to a variety of foods. Ask your doctor if you have concerns about whether boiled bananas are a good choice for you.