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Health Benefits of Saba Fruit

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on July 08, 2022

The Saba fruit is native to the Philippines and is the most common cooking banana cultivar grown in the region. It is beginning to be grown in more and more parts of the world. It is viewed as a valuable source of food, since it grows year-round.

What Is Saba Fruit?

Saba fruit is also known as saba banana, sweet plantain, or saba senegalensis. It grows in bunches at the top of a banana palm. Saba fruit are shorter and thicker than the common banana. Saba bananas often appear green in color and grow to a deeper yellow. They have a thick skin with white, starchy and firm flesh. Saba fruit has a rich flavor profile with a sweet taste.

Nutritional Value of Saba Fruit

Saba fruit has high levels of nutrients, making it a good choice for consumption. Saba fruit is rich in starch, with similar carbohydrate content to a potato. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C and contains dietary fiber and iron. Saba fruit has its highest nutritional value when consumed raw.

What Are the Health Benefits of Saba Fruit?

Owing to its nutritional value, saba fruit has numerous health benefits. Some of them include:

Aids digestion. Due to its concentration of dietary fiber, saba fruit is excellent for digestion. It may overcome symptoms of constipation and reduce the risk of gastric ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.

Improves metabolism. Saba fruit has a variety of B vitamins, which enable it to improve metabolic processes in the body. The fruit can boost energy levels when eaten raw. It can also improve nervous system functions.

Prevents stroke. Similar to other bananas, saba fruit is rich in potassium, which is a vasodilator. This can decrease strain on blood vessels, thereby reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Improves circulation. Containing high levels of iron, this fruit can stimulate oxygen circulation. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, which helps deliver oxygen and resources throughout the body.

Boosts immunity. This fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin C. Intake of saba fruit can help boost the immune system and protect your body from infections, along with boosting antioxidant activity in the body.

Improves eyesight. Saba fruit is packed with vitamin A, antioxidants, and carotenoids. These nutrients contribute to good vision.

Regulates blood sugar levels. Since saba fruit contains natural sugar, it ranks lower in the glycemic index. That’s why bananas are a healthy snack for people with diabetes.

Important for pregnant women. Pregnant women need a lot of nutrients for the proper development of the fetus. One of the most important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy is folic acid. Saba fruit is a good source of folic acid.

May reduce the risk of asthma. Asthma is an allergy-triggered disease, and many people get it at an early age.  A study found that children who consumed just one banana daily had lower chances of developing asthma.

Other Benefits of Saba Fruit

In addition to the nutritional value of saba fruit, it can provide further benefits to your health:

  • They are a great source of energy. A saba fruit is an excellent snack to help you refuel in the middle of the day.
  • This fruit is recommended for recovery from the effects of a hangover. It helps you replenish lost vitamins within a short time. 
  • Vitamin B in saba fruit is beneficial for people trying to quit smoking. This is because the fruit contains compounds that reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. 
  • Vitamin B6 in saba fruit can help pregnant women manage symptoms of morning sickness as well as help regulate body temperature. 
  • Their energy content makes saba fruit helpful in replenishing the body with glucose after strenuous activity. 
  • Saba fruit can help prevent heartburn.

Conclusion

Saba fruit can be consumed both raw and cooked, but it is more flavorful when eaten cooked. Despite its numerous health benefits, saba fruit should be consumed in moderation. This is because some people may have allergic reactions to a latex component called chitinase, which is present in bananas.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Allergy Asthma & Immunology Research: “Evaluation of Banana Hypersensitivity Among a Group of Atopic Egyptian Children: Relation to Parental/Self Reports.”

Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism: “Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function.”

Author Manuscript: “Potassium intake and risk of stroke in hypertensive and non-hypertensive women in the Women’s Health Initiative.”

Chemico-Biological Interactions: “Mitochondrial function and toxicity: Role of the B vitamin family on mitochondrial energy metabolism.”

The European Respiratory Journal: “Childhood asthma and fruit consumption.”International Food Research Journal: “Extraction and characterization of pectin from Saba banana [Musa ‘saba’(Musa acuminata x Musa balbisiana)] peel wastes: A preliminary study.”

Food Science and Nutrition: “Pro‐vitamin A carotenoids in East African highland banana and other Musa cultivars grown in Uganda.”

Inter-Center Seminar on International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs) and Biotechnology,, Manila (Filipinas), 23-27 Abr 1984: “In vitro culture of Saba banana [Musa balbisiana cv. Saba (BBB)].”

International Food Research Journal: “Extraction and characterization of pectin from Saba banana [Musa ‘saba’(Musa acuminata x Musa balbisiana)] peel wastes: A preliminary study.”

Journal of Applied Physiology: “Iron, oxygen, and the pulmonary circulation.

Journal of Dairy Science: “Methods for Dietary Fiber, Neutral Detergent Fiber, and Nonstarch Polysaccharides in Relation to Animal Nutrition.”

Journal of Food Science and Technology: “Banana by-products: an under-utilized renewable food biomass with great potential.”

Nutrition Journal: “Consumption habits of pregnant women and implications for developmental biology: a survey of predominantly Hispanic women in California.”

Nutrients: “Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health.”

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