Red Bananas: What Are Their Benefits? - Step To Health
 

Red Bananas: What Are Their Benefits?

Did you know that not all bananas are the same? The most commercialized and well known is the yellow cavendish. However, there are more than 1000 varieties of this fruit. In the following article we get to know all about the red banana.
Red Bananas: What Are Their Benefits?

Last update: 11 January, 2022

Red bananas aren’t marketed on a large scale, but there is a growing demand for them. This is partly due to their smaller size, dense texture, and sweet taste.

They’re believed to have originated in India and Malaysia, where they’ve grown wild for centuries. They later spread to other areas, such as Australia, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. They have also reached Europe, where they’re grown in the Canary Islands.

For many people, it’s an unknown fruit, as it isn’t available in all countries. So, if you’re curious to find out more about it and get to know its benefits and how it differs from the yellow banana, keep reading and we’ll tell you!

What are red bananas and how do they differ from yellow bananas?

Red bananas are known botanically as Musa acuminate Red Dacca. But, depending, on their place of origin, it may have other names, such as Spanish red plantain, Cuban red, Lal Kela, or Colorado.

To start with, it’s interesting, and maybe surprising, to note that it isn’t a genetically modified fruit. In fact, it’s a natural group within the banana group, which has appeared over the years thanks to cultivation and biological selection.

It’s shorter and thicker than the Cavendish variety (the most common among yellow bananas). The peel is hard and has a color that can range from bright red to orange-yellow. The shades of color depend on the antioxidant pigments it contains.

The main distinguishing feature of this type of banana is the color of the skin. Once peeled, the flesh has a yellow or ivory tone. It’s soft, creamy, sweet, and with a fruity flavor and aroma reminiscent of raspberry and mango.

Benefits and properties of red bananas

There are some mistaken beliefs about bananas in general. It is often cited as an unhealthy or overly caloric fruit.

However, we can categorically state that it’s a nutritious fruit and its intake can offer numerous positive health effects. The red banana also shares these benefits.

Some bananas.
Bananas are considered by many to be an unnutritious fruit, but this is far from the truth, both in the yellow and red varieties.

Nutrient contribution

In the composition of the banana (also of the red variety), carbohydrates stand out above proteins and fats (which are found in small proportions). They also contain significant amounts of fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6.

Source of energy

Three different types of sugars are found in the red banana:

  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose

This composition makes it a provider of quick, but long-lasting, energy. They’re ideal for children, people who do a lot of physical activity, or for consumption after playing sports.

Digestive well-being

When the fruit is unripe, a significant part of its carbohydrates are in the form of starch. However, went they ripen, they’re transformed into simpler sugars. For this reason, it becomes a soft and easily digestible fruit.

In addition, it contains dietary fiber in the form of inulin and fructooligosaccharides. This can’t be digested and reaches the colon intact, where it’s fermented by intestinal bacteria. It thus contributes to improving intestinal transit and has prebiotic properties.

The nervous and immune systems

Pyridoxine (or vitamin B6) is necessary for brain development and for the normal functioning of the nervous system. It’s also involved in the formation of antibodies.

Cardiovascular health

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, red bananas are an excellent source of potassium. This mineral facilitates muscle contraction and regular heartbeat. It also compensates for excess sodium in the diet, which can help maintain normal blood pressure levels.

The antioxidants in red bananas

Like many fruits and vegetables, some antioxidant compounds are present in red bananas. Some of them, even in larger quantities than the yellow varieties. This is the case with beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and lutein.

Antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage and counteract the damaging effect of free radicals. The latter, when they exceed the body’s antioxidant capacity, are related to aging.

How to eat red bananas? Possible uses in the kitchen

Peeling and eating the fruit fresh is one of the easiest ways to consume them. Also, thanks to their size and easy handling, they’re perfect for eating out of the house and for mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks.

It’s also possible to cut them into slices and add them to some dishes. They’re excellent to combine with other fruits in fruit salads or in the form of brochettes. Likewise, they’re very good to use as a topping or decoration for ice cream, cereals, and oatmeal pancakes.

Thanks to their oily, soft pulp, they can be used to cook sweets and desserts. They add a creamy texture to smoothies, milkshakes, or mousses. In addition, they can be used to sweeten all kinds of cookies, cakes, and pies naturally.

But the culinary possibilities of bananas don’t end here, as it’s possible to serve them as salted “chips” for a delicious appetizer. In some countries, they’re even used to cook curries and chicken recipes with sauces.

In order to enjoy red bananas in optimal conditions, they must be ripe, otherwise they’re very dry and their texture can be unpleasant. The presence of brown spots on the peel is one of the signs of ripeness.

At home, they keep well at room temperature for 2 to 10 days. You’ll need to keep them away from sunlight and they don’t need refrigeration.

Red bananas.
In many countries and regions, it’s difficult to find the red variety of bananas, since they aren’t distributed worldwide.

Here’s a great banana recipe for you: Cantaloupe Banana Smoothie to Reduce Cholesterol

Red bananas are a healthy fruit to include in your diet

Almost everyone likes bananas. They’re delicious, easy to eat, and add a wonderful texture to many recipes. The red variety is a unique fruit that shares all its nutrients and properties with the yellow variety.

When they form part of a healthy diet, they’re beneficial for the heart, have antioxidant properties, and promote satiety and intestinal transit. They’re ideal to take at any age and at any time of life.

When it comes to eating them and taking advantage of them, they have many different uses, and they’re just as versatile as the yellow ones. But, if you lack a bit of inspiration or ideas, just use them in the same way as the yellow variety. Take a look at the article below for an unusual application for bananas!

It might interest you...
5 Banana Masks to Make Your Skin and Hair Beautiful
Step To Health
Read it in Step To Health
5 Banana Masks to Make Your Skin and Hair Beautiful

Here we will show you five banana masks, a fruit that, because of its properties, will help you improve the health of your skin and your hair.



  • Food Data Central. Banana, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Octubre 2020.
  • Fu X, Cheng S, et al. Comparative analysis of pigments in red and yellow banana fruit. Food Chemistry. Enero 2018. 239: 1009-1018.
  • Harvard T.H. Chan. The nutrition source. Bananas. Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Liguori I, Russo G, et al. Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases. Clinical Interventions in Aging. Abril 2018. 13: 757-772.
  • Medline Plus. Vitamina B6. Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina. Noviembre 2021.
  • Singh B, Singh J.P, et al. Bioactive compounds in banana and their associated health benefits – A review. Food Chemistry. Septiembre 2016. 206: 1-11.