Bananas don’t contain any significant amount of iron. However, banana-based foods, like banana bread and banana chips, can help us meet our daily needs of iron. They provide up to 6% of the DV per serving.
How much iron do we need?
Men need only 8 mg of iron, while women of reproductive age need at least 18 mg of iron a day. Pregnant women have much higher iron needs, though.
Are bananas high in iron?
Actually, raw banana is a poor dietary source of iron. It contains only 0.26 mg of iron per 100g. A medium banana contains only 0.3 mg of iron, while a large banana contains up to 0.4 mg of iron. Hence, we can’t depend on bananas to meet our daily needs of iron. A banana can provide only 2% of the recommended daily intake.
Iron in other banana products
On the contrary, dehydrated banana and banana chips are excellent dietary sources of iron. They have 1.15 mg and 1.25 mg of iron per 100g, respectively. Just a small serving of 1 oz of banana chips provides 2% of the Daily Value (DV).
Banana bread is an excellent dietary source of iron as well. It has 1.4 mg of iron per 100g. Just a slice of banana bread provides 0.84 mg of iron, or almost 5% of the DV.
Banana pie is also a good dietary source of iron. It has 1.04 mg of iron per 100g. A piece of banana pie contains 1.5 mg of iron, or 8% of the DV. On the contrary, banana pudding contains negligible amounts of iron.
However, you should prefer consuming raw bananas. They have a great nutritional value. Banana is an excellent dietary source of potassium, fiber, resistant starch, and sugars. It even contains moderate amounts of vitamin C!
Do ripe bananas have more iron than green bananas?
Green, ripe and overripe bananas have a similar iron content. However, iron in overripe bananas is more bioavailable.
Is iron in banana bioavailable?
The composition of banana changes as it ripens. Green bananas are high in resistant starch, while ripe and overripe bananas are higher in sugars. During the ripening stage, insoluble starches degrade to smaller carbs.
Also, during the ripening stage, iron solubility significantly increases. Resistant starch of green banana may limit iron absorption because it isn’t easily digested in the small bowel.
It’s estimated that we absorb approximately 50% of the iron in ripe or overripe bananas. We absorb less iron from green bananas.
Foods with more iron than a banana
Common foods high in iron are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, whole grains, nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds), seeds, legumes, beans (e.g. lentils), potatoes, dark chocolate, and certain vegetables.
Only a few fruits, such as avocado, are good dietary sources of iron, though. Dried fruits, such as goji berries, dates, raisins, and prunes contain decent amounts of iron as well.
Furthermore, you could consume fortified foods to boost your daily iron intake. Many breakfast cereals are enriched with iron. In addition, iron in fortified foods is highly bioavailable.
Moreover, honey helps increase iron levels by 20%!
Still, many women of reproductive age fail to get the recommended daily intake of iron from diet. They may benefit from taking iron supplements. You’ll find a wide variety of iron supplements on iHerb.
In any case, you shouldn’t take more iron than the maximum safe dose.
Always consult your physician before taking a dietary supplement or changing your diet.