Bananas are probably the most consumed fruit throughout the world. Nutrient-dense bananas can be added to healthy diet plans. In fact, it is among the best fruits with almost every essential nutrient which are beneficial for a healthy lifestyle.
However, several people get constipated or face bowel disorders after the consumption of bananas. So the question arises here do bananas cause constipation?
There is no scientific evidence that proves bananas cause constipation.
Also, ripe bananas do not cause constipation as it is a good source of fiber and probiotics and contains very little amount of resistant starch. Also, ripe bananas contain other gut-friendly nutrients like magnesium and polyunsaturated acid.
These nutrients make ripe bananas a good natural laxative that aids in smooth bowel movements. So, when does a banana cause constipation? Too much consumption of ripe bananas can cause constipation by promoting fiber overload. Moreover, an unripe banana can also trigger constipation because of its high resistant starch content.
In this article, we will check when bananas cause constipation. Whether bananas are good for constipation or not? How to relieve banana constipation?
Can Bananas Cause Constipation?
Ripe bananas do not cause constipation in normal circumstances as they are high in probiotics and contain anti-constipation nutrients like fiber, magnesium, and polyunsaturated fat. Let’s check how these components act in maintaining constipation.
Bananas are a great source of probiotics and help to maintain healthy gut functions. A study has shown that bananas are a potential source of prebiotics, which may be used as an ingredient in functional food and nutraceutical products (1).
On the other hand, another study has shown that probiotics can increase intestinal frequency and improve stool quality (2). That’s why probiotic-rich bananas can reduce the risk of constipation by improving stool frequency.
Fiber is another macronutrient that reduces the risk of constipation. A 100-gram serving of banana contains 2.6 grams of dietary fiber (3). Studies have shown that intake of fiber-rich foods increases stool frequency and softens the stool (4).
Another study has shown that dietary fiber intake can is able to increase stool frequency in patients with constipation (5).
Bananas contain a moderate amount of one of the essential macrominerals i.e magnesium. You will get 36.7 mg of magnesium from 1 large-sized banana (136 grams of serving size).
Regular consumption of bananas can reduce constipation occurrence chances by enhancing magnesium intake. It’s because studies have shown that magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of constipation by reducing the frequency of stool (6).
The presence of unsaturated fat especially, polyunsaturated fat in bananas may help to improve bowel movement. Polyunsaturated fat is a very essential nutrient to get rid of constipation problems.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids affect immunity, inflammation, and motility of the GI tract. In fact, lubiprostone, a Prostaglandin E1 derivative, has been registered in the treatment of IBS-C and chronic idiopathic constipation (7).
The very little amount of saturated fat component makes banana an anti-constipation food. A 100-gram serving of bananas contains only 0.112 grams of saturated fat. Studies have shown that more than 30 grams intake o saturated fats per day is associated with the occurrence of constipation (8).
Bananas contain almost zero grams of monounsaturated fat. According to studies a high intake of monounsaturated fat may negatively affect gut microbiota(11). This in turn may promote constipation.
Considering all of these facts we can say that bananas do not cause constipation. However, in certain circumstances, you may get affected by constipation after the consumption of bananas.
So, When Do Bananas Cause Constipation?
There are two major situations when bananas promote constipation. These are excess consumption of ripe bananas and intake of resistant starch rich unripe bananas. Let’s check-in details:
Fiber Overload From Bananas
Uncontrolled intake of ripe bananas can increase the risk of constipation by fiber overload. Too much consumption of fiber creates phytobezoar formation in the gastrointestinal tract.
These are the masses produced by the accumulation of undigested fibers. Studies have shown that phytobezoar formation is a common cause of small bowel obstruction (12). That’s why a high intake of bananas may promote constipation by causing phytobezoar formation.
Also, the moderate-high dietary fiber component of bananas may cause constipation problems for some individuals. It’s because intake of fiber-rich foods can cause or worsen constipation problems for
Resistant Starch Constipation
Unripe bananas are a good source of resistant starch compared to ripe bananas. Resistant starch is a well-known constipation factor. Studies have shown that unripe bananas can cause or aggravate pre-existing constipation due to their high amylase-resistant starch content (15).
However, the role of banana resistant starch on constipation is conflicting. It’s because another study done on mice had shown that, banana resistant-starch may be useful for improving intestinal motility during constipation (16).
Other Constipation Factors
Also, there are some other factors that may cause irregular bowel movements and promotes constipation. However, not all of these facts are directly linked to banana consumption.
These are (17):
- Tooth problems
- Less water or fluid consumption
- Too much intake of dietary fiber
- Overweight or Obesity
Are Bananas Hard To Digest?
No bananas are not hard to digest. It’s because bananas contain a good amount of dietary fiber and magnesium. It is also low in the phytic acid components which is another beneficial property.
According to studies, phytic acid may cause indigestion (18). That’s why bananas with very little phytic acid are easy to digest. Also, the presence of prebiotics in bananas aid digestion.
Substitutes Of Bananas
There are several substitutes for bananas. All of these fruits are high in nutrients and may be a great option for controlling constipation problems. Some effective banana alternatives are:
Among these alternatives, avocadoes should be the first priority. As avocadoes do not cause constipation because of their high nutrient value. Like avocadoes, cranberry juice aid in constipation relief also.
Banana Nutrition Value
Bananas are a high source of both macronutrients and micronutrients. It is full of fiber, protein, fat, potassium, magnesium, etc. It also contains a little amount of vitamin C, A, E, and K.
A 100-gram serving of bananas contains:
- Calories: 89
- Fiber: 2.6 g
- Fat: 0.33 g
- Protein: 1.09 g
- Carbs: 22.8 g
- Sugar: 12.2 g
Bananas are a rich source of dietary fiber and magnesium. These two nutrients help to relieve constipation by regulating bowel movement. Also, the prebiotics of bananas improve gut function and they are also beneficial for constipation cure.
However, too much consumption of bananas can do the reverse or trigger constipation by causing fiber overload. Moreover, fiber-rich bananas can worsen constipation in patients with chronic constipation and Idiopathic constipation.
On the other hand, the resistant starch component of bananas may cause or relieve constipation. More research is required on whether resistant starch can aid in constipation or a constipation factor.
Do bananas make you constipated or poop?
Bananas can make you both constipated or poop. As ripe banana is a good source of dietary fiber and contains very little starch, it helps you to poop.
On the other hand, unripe bananas are loaded with starch. This starch from unripe bananas can make you constipated.
How can bananas empty your bowel?
Bananas contain a moderate amount of dietary fiber. This dietary fiber adds bulk to stool and makes them easy to pass.
Moreover, dietary fiber also increases the frequency of stool. This is how fiber-rich ripe bananas can help you to empty your bowel.
How do bananas affect bowel movements?
There are two types of bananas i.e unripe green banana and ripe yellow banana. These two species of bananas affect bowel movement differently because of their nutrient value.
Ripe bananas contain a lot of fiber and help to aid in smooth bowel movements. On the other hand, unripe bananas are full of resistant starch and it can make you constipated by creating bowel movement problems.
Do bananas cause gas and bloating?
Bananas are a good source of fiber. High consumption of bananas can cause gas and bloating by causing fiber overload.
Although fiber is a great nutrient to fight constipation, it can also increase gas production. As a result, fiber-rich bananas may promote gas and bloating.