Healthy Living

Bananas For Constipation: Do They Work?

Bananas are both good and bad for constipation depending on the form in which they are eaten, be it either ripe or unripe. The views on this topic from online sources are mixed and contradictory. No one can argue that bananas are a healthy fruit loaded with folate, fiber, potassium and magnesium. But the question remains about whether the nutritious fruit causes or relieves constipation. 

In an article on Everyday Health, Tammy Lakatos, registered dietitian, nutritionist and personal trainer said that unripened green bananas are constipating, but ripe bananas with soluble fibers aid healthy bowel movements and cure constipation-related problems. 

According to health benefits listed out by Medical News Today, bananas are used to successfully treat people recovering from diarrhea. The fruit is part of a diet called the BRAT diet, which includes bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, that is consumed to be nutritionally replenished since diarrhea can render people weak. Considerable potassium, an important electrolyte is depleted while suffering from chronic diarrhea, can be derived in plenty from bananas. 

However, another story by Healthline shares the contradiction due to studies with opposing viewpoints. Though fiber is highly recommended by dietitians and medical practitioners alike to improve the functioning of the digestive tract, the results of the research based on soluble fiber and the relationship to digestion are conflicted. 

banana Bananas are known for many health benefits, such as helping manage blood pressure, supporting digestion and preventing asthma and cancer. Pixabay

The article said that resistant starch in green bananas have enough soluble fiber to reduce constipation and also solve diarrhea-related issues. The resistant starch is lost and decreases when the banana ripens, this is why bananas should be consumed when they are ripe because at that point only the starch would be able to make up majority of the content. 

According to the same article on Healthline, bananas act as prebiotics, feeding the good bacteria needed to multiply to protect the gut region. A study on 34 obese women who ate two bananas every day for two months reported an increase in Bifidobacteria needed for a healthy functioning gut. 

However, they also experienced side effects like bloating and stomach pain, while the improvements in good gut bacteria are not reflected significantly in the numbers. In conclusion, consume bananas in moderation to derive its nutrients, but if you do start feeling uncomfortable, then it’s best to eat less of it.