Bananas are a top-logged food among MyFitnessPal users and a staple in many athletes’ diets. Tasty, healthy and portable, bananas can be seen as nature’s energy bar.
They’re rich in fiber, important vitamins and minerals and naturally free of cholesterol and sodium. They are an excellent pre-workout snack snack because they contain healthy carbs and potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps.
Bananas sometimes get a bad rap for being high in sugar. However, the fiber in bananas helps slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, keeping you full longer, unlike a processed sugary treat.
Here, a look at the nutrition highlights, health benefits, different varieties and more:
There are more than 500 types of bananas, but only a few are sold at common markets. Some of the most popular types include:
You’re probably most familiar with Cavendish, the classic yellow fruit you see in grocery stores. These have been the most internationally traded banana since the 1950s.
LADY FINGER OR BABY BANANA
These bananas are smaller and sweeter than Cavendish, but can be used in the same ways. They are a great option for a children’s (or small adult) snack because of their small portion size.
MANZANO (APPLE) BANANA
Apple bananas are grown in the forests of Hawaii and are incredibly sweet. They are small, plump and have a slight pinkish-green color when freshly picked. They do not brown as quickly as other types of bananas.
These contain carotenoids like lutein and beta carotene (pigments that give the peel a reddish color), which supports eye health. Red bananas have a higher vitamin C content than yellow bananas and are slightly sweeter, smaller and denser. Their mild, sweet taste is sometimes described as having a hint of raspberry flavor.