Are Bananas Low FODMAP? The answer’s not so simple

a banana plant, with green bananas

You’ll be happy to hear, that yes, bananas can be low FODMAP. But, it depends on how ripe the banana is. An unripe banana is low FODMAP but a ripe banana is high FODMAP. 

Intrigued? Read on to learn more about the health benefits of bananas and how you can fit them into an IBS-friendly diet. 

Did you know? Bananas are the most purchased fruit in the UK.

You can see why bananas are a popular fruit. They are usually pretty cheap, convenient (they come in their own yellow casing), and are a healthy snack. Bananas can be a great addition to most peoples diet. 

Health Benefits of Bananas

Over 5 billion bananas are eaten every year in the UK! That is a lot of yellow fruit but also excellent news as bananas have a wide range of health benefits. Most fruit can be considered healthy, but bananas have some extra perks. 

  1. Bananas are high in potassium. Potassium is important for good heart health. Potassium helps you to pee out sodium and this can help lower your blood pressure. 
  2. Bananas are a source of prebiotics that ‘feed’ your good gut bacteria. It is good to keep your gut bacteria happy and fed so they can continue to provide benefits to our digestive system
  3. Bananas can help you recover faster from your workouts. They contain easily digestible carbohydrates to help you refuel and allow for faster muscle recovery. They also contain magnesium and potassium. Two important electrolytes to replace after a sweaty gym sesh to prevent muscle cramping. 
  4. Bananas are packed full of important vitamins and minerals including: vitamins B6, magnesium, and vitamin C

Bananas and IBS 

So we know bananas can be low FODMAP, which means you can easily include them in your diet.  However, it depends if you are eating them ripe or unripe. 

According to Monash, unripe bananas get the green light at a portion size of 100g or approx 1 medium banana. For ripe bananas, it is a different story. The portion size is much smaller, with only a 35g serving (1/3 of a medium banana) being considered low FODMAP. Any more than that and the banana becomes high FODMAP due to its increase in fructan. This is what gives ripe bananas their sweetness. 

You might be asking, how do I know if my banana is ripe or unripe? 

An unripe banana will still have a bit of green on it. There should not be any spots or browning and it is still quite firm. It will be less sweet than a ripe banana and won’t have such a strong ‘banana’ smell. A ripe banana, on the other hand, will have no green at all, a consistent yellow colour and some brown spots may be appearing. A very ripe banana will be quite brown and soft. You likely won’t want to eat a very ripe banana but instead will consider using them for banana bread

Ripe Banana
Unripe Banana

There is no reason while on a low FODMAP diet you can’t keep consuming bananas just look out for the ripeness of the banana. 

You can use ripe bananas in your cooking as long as you are sticking to portion sizes. If your recipe uses 1-2 bananas but serves 8+ people, you will likely only be getting a small amount of ripe banana per portion keeping it low FODMAP. However, if you are using one banana for a serving of 1-2 people, the amount of ripe banana you are eating will increase and will likely be higher in FODMAPs. 

Want to use up the ripe bananas in your house? Try out this low-FODMAP vegan banana bread for a delicious treat. Add some peanut butter or mashed blueberries to it for a delicious filling treat.

If you have never had any digestive upset from consuming ripe bananas, don’t stop eating them just because it is considered high FODMAP. Not all foods cause the same issues for everybody.

Are dried bananas low FODMAP?

Yep, they are. Stick to the portion size of 30g or approx 15 chips per serving. If you want to eat dried bananas look for the version that is made only with dried bananas. Frequently you will get dried banana that is cooked with lots of additional oil, salt, or sugar. 

The Takeaway 

Bananas are a tasty and healthy fruit to include in your diet. They can help you recover from your workouts, keep your heart healthy, and are a great source of fibre. 

There is no reason for anyone with IBS to be avoiding them entirely unless you are allergic or don’t like them of course! Make sure to look for the greener ripe bananas and keep in mind your portion sizes. 

What is your favourite banana recipe? Let me know in the comments!

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