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Do Bananas Cause Constipation?

do bananas cause constipation

Bananas are a convenient, healthy food option. They pack a punch in terms of nutritional value and are an easy, wholesome snack. Known for being a source of quick energy, bananas are a popular food choice.

However, the interaction between bananas and our digestive system is more complex than it may seem.

Do bananas cause constipation? Maybe.

Bananas can either be a cause of constipation or a source of constipation relief, depending on their ripeness.

What Is Constipation?

If you have difficulty passing stool or are unable to have a bowel movement regularly, you may be constipated. Symptoms of constipation include:

  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Straining
  • Hard, dry stools
  • Feeling like your bowel is not fully empty
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain

Unripe Bananas: A Cause of Constipation

Its firm texture and green-colored peel make it easy to spot an unripe banana in the grocery store. The taste of unripe bananas is less sweet and more starchy than their ripe counterparts. In fact, almost 80% of an unripe banana’s weight is something called resistant starch.

Unlike most starches we eat, resistant starch is a special kind of starch that doesn’t break down in your stomach or small intestine. Since it is not readily digested in the small intestine, it passes into the large intestine mostly unchanged.

While resistant starch has its benefits, including feeding the good bacteria in our gut, its presence in significant quantities can slow down food movement through the digestive tract. This property has made bananas a staple in the popular BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, and toast) for diarrhea relief.

So, eating unripe bananas might lead to or worsen constipation for some individuals.

Ripe Bananas: A Remedy for Relief

Bananas transition from green to yellow as they ripen. A fully ripe banana is bright yellow with small brown spots.

As bananas ripen, the starches are converted into simple sugars. Ripe bananas are at their peak sweetness and can actually help alleviate constipation.

Ripe banana sugars are much easier for the body to digest. The texture is softer, and the resistant starch is converted into pectin, a soluble fiber. The fiber content can help relieve constipation and keep your digestive tract working properly.

Tips For Making Bananas Work for You

Understanding the different impacts of ripe and unripe bananas on digestion can be a bit tricky. When choosing your fruit, keep these tips in mind:

  • Monitor ripeness. If you are prone to constipation, opt for bananas with yellow skin and brown spots.
  • Balance your diet. Regardless of the bananas’ ripeness, always aim for a balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water as adequate fluids help to support overall digestive health. Staying hydrated prevents stools from becoming hard and difficult to pass.
  • Listen to your body. Everyone’s digestive system reacts differently to every food. Pay attention to how your body responds to bananas at different ripeness levels and adjust your intake accordingly.

Relieve Your Chronic Constipation

If your constipation persists after you make changes to your diet, including avoiding underripe bananas and eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, it may be time to consult a gastroenterologist. They can help identify or rule out underlying causes of constipation and tailor a plan to solve your digestive problems.
Don’t continue to live with chronic constipation – schedule an appointment today!

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