There are over 1000 different varieties of bananas in the world. Red bananas are a subgroup of bananas from Southeast Asia with a red peel. They are soft and have a sweet taste when ripe. Unlike yellow bananas, red ones taste raspberry sweet.
They are often used in desserts, but also go well with savory foods. Red bananas provide many essential nutrients and can benefit your immune system, heart health, and digestion.
In the article, we will consider the facts about what are red bananas, health benefits. And also what is the difference between red bananas and yellow, how to use red bananas.
Benefits of Red Bananas
Here are 7 useful properties of red bananas – and what is their difference from yellow bananas.
1. Contain many important nutrients.
Like yellow bananas, red bananas provide essential nutrients. They are especially rich in potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6 and contain enough fiber.
One small red banana (100 grams) provides:
- Calories: 90 Calories
- Carbohydrates: 21 grams
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Potassium: 9%
- Vitamin B6: 28%
- Vitamin C: 9%
- Magnesium: 8%
A small red banana contains about 90 calories and consists mainly of water and carbohydrates. A large amount of vitamin B6, magnesium and vitamin C makes this variety of banana especially nutritious.
Red banana has great nutritional value. It is rich in essential minerals, vitamin B6 and fiber.
2. May lower blood pressure
Potassium is a mineral essential for heart health due to its role in regulating blood pressure.
Red bananas are rich in potassium – one small fruit provides 9% of the daily value.
A review of 22 controlled trials showed that consuming more potassium lowers systolic blood pressure (upper reading) by 7 mmHg. This effect was most pronounced in people who had high blood pressure at the start of the study ( 3 ).
Another important mineral for controlling blood pressure is magnesium. One small red banana provides about 8% of your daily needs for this mineral.
A review of 10 studies noted that an increase of 100 mg per day in magnesium can reduce the risk of high blood pressure by 5% ( 6 ).
In addition, increasing magnesium and potassium intake may be more effective in lowering blood pressure than consuming more of one of the minerals ( 7 ).
Red bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium. Increased intake of these two minerals can help lower blood pressure.
3. Eye health support
Red bananas contain carotenoids – pigments that give the fruit a reddish peel.
Lutein and beta-carotene are two carotenoids in red bananas that support eye health.
One review of 6 studies showed that eating lutein-rich foods can reduce the risk of late age-related macular degeneration by 26% ( 11 ).
Beta-carotene is another carotenoid that supports eye health, and red bananas provide it more than other types of bananas ( 8 ).
Beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A in your body – one of the most important vitamins for eye health.
Red bananas contain carotenoids, such as lutein and beta-carotene, which improve eye health and can reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
4. Rich antioxidants
Like most other fruits and vegetables, red bananas contain powerful antioxidants. Red bananas contain more antioxidants, unlike yellow bananas.
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent cell damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Excess free radicals in your body can lead to an imbalance known as oxidative stress, which is associated with diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Major antioxidants in red bananas include:
- vitamin c
These antioxidants can offer protective health benefits. For example, one systematic review showed that consumption of anthocyanins in the diet reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease by 9% ( 16 ).
Eating fruits rich in antioxidants, such as red bananas, can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Red bananas contain a lot of antioxidants that can prevent free radical damage to cells and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
5. Supports immune system
Red bananas are rich in vitamins C and B6. These nutrients are essential for a healthy immune system.
One small red banana provides 9% and 28% of the norm for vitamins C and B6, respectively.
Vitamin C boosts immunity by strengthening the cells of your immune system. Accordingly, some studies show that even a slight vitamin C deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of infection ( 20 , 21 ).
Although vitamin C deficiency is relatively rare – about 7% of adults suffer from it, it is important to ensure its adequate intake ( 22 ).
Vitamin B6 in red bananas also plays an important role in maintaining the immune system. A lack of vitamin B6 can reduce the production of white blood cells and immune antibodies that fight infection.
Red bananas are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6, which are vitamins that support a strong immune system and fight infection.
6. Improve digestive health
Red bananas support the digestive system in many ways.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that nourishes beneficial gut bacteria. Like yellow bananas, red bananas are an excellent source of prebiotic fiber.
Fructooligosaccharides are the main type of prebiotic fiber in bananas, but they also contain another called inulin.
One study showed that taking 8 grams of fructooligosaccharides per day for 2 weeks increased the population of beneficial intestinal bacteria by 10 times ( 27 ).
Good source of fiber
One small red banana provides 3 grams of fiber – about 10% of the norm for this nutrient.
Dietary fiber benefits your digestive system:
- promotion of regular bowel movements,
- reduction of inflammation in the intestines,
- stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria.
In addition, a high fiber diet can reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
One study among 170,776 women found that a diet high in fiber – compared with one low in fiber – was associated with a 40% reduction in Crohn’s disease risk ( 30 ).
Red bananas are rich in prebiotics and fiber, which contribute to optimal digestion and can reduce the risk of IBD.
7. Tasty and easy to add to your diet.
In addition to their health benefits, red bananas are delicious and easy to eat.
This is an extremely convenient and portable snack. Thanks to the sweet taste, red bananas also offer a useful way to naturally sweeten the recipe.
Here are some ways to add red bananas to your diet:
- Throw them in a smoothie.
- Chop and use them as a sprinkle for oatmeal.
- Freeze and mix red bananas in homemade ice cream.
- Steam with peanut butter for a snack.
Red bananas are also a great addition to muffins, pancakes and homemade bread recipes.
Red bananas are a great portable snack. Their sweet taste also makes them a good addition to various recipes.
Red bananas – unlike yellow bananas
Red bananas are quite similar to their yellow “brothers.”
Both of them are good sources of dietary fiber and provide an equally high content of calories and carbohydrates.
However, these two varieties have several differences. For example, unlike yellow bananas, red bananas:
- smaller and denser
- have a slightly sweet taste
- contain more vitamin C
- higher in some antioxidants
- have a lower glycemic index (GI)
Although red bananas are sweeter, they have a lower GI than yellow bananas. GI is a scale from 0 to 100 that measures how quickly foods increase blood sugar.
Lower GI values indicate a slower absorption in the blood. Yellow bananas have an average GI of 51. While red bananas are lower on a scale of about 45.
Red bananas are smaller and sweeter than yellow. They are higher in certain nutrients – such as antioxidants and vitamin C – but have a lower GI.
Red bananas are a unique fruit that brings many health benefits.
They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin B6. They offer a low-calorie, but high-fiber supplement to food, snacks, and hearty desserts.
Among other things, the nutrients in red bananas can help improve heart and digestive health if consumed as part of an overall healthy diet.
The main differences between red and yellow bananas are that they have a lower glycemic index, have a less sweet and more berry taste and contain more antioxidants.