Banana is a Healthful Food

Study of Food Qualities

In recent years, the Department of Physiological Chemistry of Teachers College, Columbia University has conducted a series of studies to evaluate the nutritive properties of the banana. Through these studies it was found that the banana has many valuable dietary factors, and is easily digestible even by infants, the degree of digestibility depending on the ripeness It was found that :

“1. Ripe banana may be added to the diet of healthy infants from the age of three months onward with safety.

“2. It may be used as a substitute for sugar and other predominantly carbohydrate foods such as potato or cereal.

“3. Infants fed on banana as a substitute for the above mentioned foods take it well, digest it satisfactorily, and show no change in the character of the stools. Their gain in weight over a period of weeks is roughly equal to the gain of those on the control diet.

“4. The ripe banana thus provides a useful substitute for other foods of its class in healthy infants.”

  • Adequate in Vitamins

Aside from the ease of digestion, bananas contain important food constituents, including liberal quantities of minerals and vitamins. Vitamins A, B, B1, C, E and G are found in abundance. It was impossible to detect Vitamin D by any standard methods. The following chart shows the vitamin content of bananas in comparison with other common fruits:


      FRUIT                       A                     B (Complex)                       B1                  C                     G

Banana (Fresh pulp) … 70-100                      3-6                             3-14              6                     9

Apple ……………………………  15                               6-10                                                  3                     6-8

Cantaloupe ………………….  90                               8                                                         ?                      ?

Grape ……………………………  20                               7-9                                                     2                     ?

Lemon ………………………….  ?                                  10                                                       15                   ?

Orange ………………………….  20                               9-10                                                  15                   6-21

Peach ……………………………. 56                               6-10                                                  5                     ?

Tomato …………………………  170                            8-16                                                  9                     5


  • Mineral Content of Banana

Bananas contain the minerals important to the development and maintenance of healthy tooth structure. It is a good source of calcium, and evidence indicates that the banana not only contributes its own calcium to the diet, but aids in the absorption and retention of calcium in other food constituents of the diet. It is strongly base forming. The banana most common in the American markets is the yellow banana, and it was this species upon which the study was made. Their conclusions are as follows:

1.            It is a good source of calories, being richer in solids and lower in water content than other fresh fruits.

2.            It is a good source of quick energy, owing to its high content of easily assimilable sugars, and provides and excellent means of fatigue recovery.

3.            The low content of protein in the fresh pulp makes it an excellent means of increasing calorie value in diets without increasing protein intake (for example, in nephritic diets). The protein present is of good quality.

4.            The carbohydrates of the banana are not only readily absorbed buy appear to be particularly well tolerated by the diabetic, the sprue victim, and the infant afflicted with Coeliac disease, and to be corrective of these two conditions to a considerable degree.

5.            The banana appears to have the ability to stimulate the intestinal growth of the gram-positive aciduric types and to combat the development of the colon forms. Its value as a regulator of gastro-intestinal function may be in part due to these properties. Its mildly laxative action is shown by its effect on the volume of the stools.

6.            The banana contributes to the diet significant amounts of the following minerals : calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, iron and copper, as evidenced by its effect on mineral metabolism.

7.            It increases the alkalinity of the blood and thus corrects acidosis due to acid diets.

8.            It has red blood regenerating potency through its ability to stimulate the production of hemoglobin.

9.            It appears to have the power to increase the utilization of lime when fed with sources of this bone and tooth-building element.

  1. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, the anti-infective vitamin.
  2. It is a good source of vitamins B, G, and E.
  3. It is an excellent antiscorbutic, its content of vitamin C being sufficiently high (6 units per oz.) to use as the sole antiscorbutic for infants.
  4. Combined with milk, banana produces an almost completely balanced rations. It provides both antiscorbutic and other vitamins and at the same time makes an excellent modifier for the milk by supplying the necessary sugar.
  5. In the yellow ripe condition it is completely digestible if properly masticated. In its full ripe form it will digest with little mastication and is tolerated by infants and by the old and debilitated.