What’s the fiber content of a banana? Is it good for you to eat bananas? What are the health benefits of a high dietary fiber diet?
Dietary fiber daily requirements
The recommended dietary fiber intake for children and adults is 14 gr per 1000 kcal per day. This means that we should consume at least 28 gr of fiber on a 2000 calorie diet (3).
This is the lowest fiber intake that is considered adequate for optimal health. In a high fiber diet, the health benefits may be even greater.
To make it clear, people who consume fewer calories need fewer total fiber per day.
As a result, women tend to need fewer dietary fiber than men, as they have lower calorie needs.
The same stands for kids. The daily fiber intake must follow the “14 grams of fiber per 1000 kcal” rule. So kids need a smaller amount of fiber than adults.
The Western diet doesn’t promote high fiber intake though.
Only about 6% of people consume more than 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories. On the contrary, most people consume only half of the recommended level (1).
Remember...Better consume at least 30 grams of dietary fiber per day.
Health benefits of a high fiber diet
Fiber is important for our good health.
Most known health benefits of eating adequate amounts of fiber daily are the significantly lower risk of developing (2):
- coronary heart disease,
- obesity, and
- certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Eating more fiber can provide extra health benefits, such as low blood pressure and low LDL-cholesterol. Also known as the “bad” cholesterol (1).
Remember…Fiber can help you with the most common chronic diseases.
Fiber in bananas helps lose weight
Scientists examined 252 women for a 20-month period. They found that each 1 extra gram of fiber per 1000 kcal can reduce body weight by 0.25 kg. Most importantly it can reduce body fat by 0.25% (1).
Contrary, if you reduce calories, in order to lose weight, you better keep consuming the same amount of fiber.
In a study, researchers found that each gram reduction of fiber (per 1000 kcal) prevented body fat loss by 243 grams per day (1).
Other studies followed hundreds of people for years. The scientists found that high fiber diets, rich in fruits can lower body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and chronic inflammation (1).
Many scientists believe that the Mediterranean diet is a perfect example of a high fiber diet, with amazing health benefits.
Fruits, such as bananas, help us consume adequate dietary fiber.
Fiber in a banana helps you stay young
A 2018 study of 5674 adults found that fiber intake of 10 g per 1000 kcal reduced biologic aging by 4.3 years (1).
That was compared to the low fiber diets, such as the standard American diet, in which people consume less than 6.6 grams of fiber per 1000 kcal.
Remember...High fiber diets keep you younger.
Fiber in a banana helps you live longer
A 2017 study, that analyzed data from over 2 million people, found significantly reduced mortality risk, for people who consumed more fruits.
Furthermore, every extra 200 grams of fruit intake per day, meant 15% less risk to die early (1). Some fruits had a greater effect on lowering the risk of dying early though.
Another study found that elderly with cardiovascular diseases, who consumed more than 210 grams of fruit daily had a significantly lower risk of premature death. By about 40%.
Another UK study found the same. Consuming 7 portions of fruit daily reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases by 43%. Compared to eating only 2.5 portions of fruit per day.
Many other studies prove the importance of dietary fiber as well.
Remember…Fiber in a banana and other fruits can help you live a longer and healthier life.
How much fiber in a banana?
According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of a banana have 2.6 grams of dietary fiber. This means that bananas are fiber-rich foods.
Practically, a medium banana has about 3.1 mg of fiber, and a large banana may contain more than 3.9 mg of fiber.
This is the 14% DV (Daily Value).
Remember…A banana is a very good source of dietary fiber.
What type of fiber is in bananas?
Dietary fiber is part of plants. It can’t be broken down. There are two types:
- Soluble fiber. It dissolves in water. Also, soluble fiber keeps us full for longer. So, they are ideal if you want to lose weight.
- Insoluble fiber. It doesn’t dissolve in water. As insoluble fiber can easy defecation, they are ideal for people with constipation problems. Some type of insoluble fiber is resistant starches, which are important for colon health.
Green bananas vs ripe bananas
Among the foods rich in resistant starches (insoluble fiber) are unripe green bananas.
Especially banana flour. One serving (about 227 gr) of unripe banana flour contains up to 52 grams of resistant starches.
Moreover, a medium green unripe banana contains only about 5 grams of resistant starches.
A banana is a good source of insoluble fiber when it’s green.
But, as a banana matures, it becomes richer in soluble fiber.
Remember…Bananas are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. It depends on the ripeness.
What if we cook a green banana?
We should consume green bananas raw, in order to take advantage of resistant starches.
If you cook a green banana, starches will lose their resistance.
Resistant starches are very vulnerable to heat. When resistant starches are heated, they become rapidly digestible.
Hence, dietary fiber in green banana bread or banana muffins is different from an unripe green banana.
Remember…Heat during cooking destroys resistant starches of bananas.
Is the fiber content in a banana high?
Bananas are among the richest food in fiber.
The best source of dietary fiber is beans and legumes.
Followed by dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, other types of vegetables, and fruits.
Certainly, bananas are among the most fiber-rich fruits. Don’t forget that a banana may have more than 3.9 mg of fiber, or 14% DV.
Other foods rich in fiber, except bananas
If you follow a healthy vegan diet or a whole food plant-based diet, dietary fiber intake won’t be an issue for you.
Every plant contains fiber.
Legumes, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits are all rich in fiber.
Are fiber supplements good for you?
Many people prefer fiber supplements, in order to increase the daily intake of dietary fiber.
Certainly, that isn’t necessary.
Why not just consume fiber from food? As a bonus, you’ll consume micronutrients and bioactive compounds with extra nutritional benefits (3).
So, are bananas rich in fiber?
Yes, bananas are a very good source of fiber.
Luckily, it’s easy to carry a banana as a healthy and quick snack.
Moreover, bananas are the base of every smoothie. Additionally, put in leafy greens and fruits in order to boost your vitamin, mineral, and fiber intake. You’ll have the perfect post-workout meal in a moment.
Furthermore, it’s really a cheap solution. Especially if you buy bananas and other fruits in bulk. You can freeze bananas and veggies, in order to keep them fresh for a long time.
About 95% of American adults don’t consume the daily recommended amounts of fiber. Just drinking a banana smoothie daily will help you easily meet the daily fiber requirements…
- MDPI: Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects
- NCBI: Health benefits of dietary fiber.
- American Society of Nutrition: Dietary Fiber