Three Nutritional Differences Between Bananas and Plantains

January 23, 2020
Even though many people confuse the two and consider them the same thing, the nutritional values of bananas and plantains confirm their differences when it comes to the benefits that we want to get from them.

Bananas and plantains are fruits that originate from countries with tropical and hot climates.

They are usually considered a basic food in the population’s daily diet and they provide a large quantity of benefits for those who consume them.

These fruits have a similar appearance and come from the same plant family: Musaceae (source: Venezuelan National Institute of Agricultural Research) Also, they are used in different ways when it comes to cooking- whether they are fried, boiled, baked, grilled or raw.

This is not only because of their small differences in texture and taste, but also because of their nutritional values.

If you want to learn the difference between bananas and plantains, we suggest that you keep reading this article. Don’t miss out!

Plantains

As we have already stated, plantains are a fruit that comes from the Musaceae family, the paradisiacal type.

Because of this, they can easily be found in tropical countries that are close to the coast where it is very hot, such as Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, and Costa Rica.

The main characteristic of this fruit is its long shape and green peel that turns yellow as it ripens and black when it’s past its ripeness.

Three plantains.

The nutritional value of 100 grams of plantain are:

  • Energy value: 96.4 kcal
  • Fiber: 2.5%
  • Calcium: 7.8 mg
  • Magnesium: 38.5 mg
  • Iron: 0.3 mg
  • Copper: 0.1 mg
  • Zinc: 0.2 mg
  • Manganese: 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin: C 17.5 mg
  • Protein: 1.7%
  • Potassium: 490 mg
  • Phosphorus: 59.1 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22.5 %

All of these properties make plantains a juicy fruit when they’re ripe. However, they also contain starch: this contains carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.

The starch makes it so that you cannot eat plantains before cooking them because they are astringent, rubbery and dry.

  • Generally, when they are green, they can be cooked in hot oil, parboiled or boiled.
  • If it is ripe or yellow, you can also cook it in the oven and on the grill.

Bananas

Bananas

Cavendish bananas also belong to the Musaceae family, but they are of the acuminata type. They’re more easily cultivated in countries like Uganda, Ecuador, the Philippines and Brazil.

Their main characteristics are their cylindrical, soft and smooth shape. They’re white on the inside with a green peel that turns yellow as it ripens.

The nutritional value of 100 grams of a banana are:

  • Energy value: 110.15 kcal
  • Fiber: 2.3%
  • Calcium: 12.5 mg
  • Magnesium: 41.5 mg
  • Iron: 0.9 mg
  • Copper: 0.3 mg
  • Zinc: 0.2 mg
  • Manganese: 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin C: 18.5 mg
  • Protein: 0.3 mg
  • Potassium: 434 mg
  • Phosphorus: 59.1 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 26.2%

Unlike plantains, bananas do not contain starch so they can be eaten without having to cook them before.

Also, they are known throughout the world for their sweet flavor and creamy consistency. That makes them one of the best foods to eat at any time of the day.

Differences between bananas and plantains

Differences between bananas and plantains

Despite having almost the same characteristics, we’ve seen some differences that distinguish them. This study from the University of Colima (Mexico) also establishes several options for determining their particular characteristics.

We’re also going to take a look at other properties of bananas and plantains that highlight the differences between these two fruits.

1. Microminerals

Plantains contain a lower quantity of microminerals than bananas, such as:

However, they contain more potassium. A study from the Necker Hospital in Paris found that potassium can help prevent muscle cramps and hypokalemia.

They also contain more sodium, beating bananas by 2 grams for every 100 grams.

2. Calories

Plantains have fewer calories, which makes them a better option for maintaining a healthy weight.

3. Protein

Bananas have fewer proteins, but more vitamin A and iron. This makes it an overall healthier option for your body. Plantains, on the other hand, have more protein and are great for weight loss.

Did you know the differences between bananas and plantains? We recommend incorporating both into your diet because they are delicious and nutritious.

  • Happi Emaga, T., Robert, C., Ronkart, S. N., Wathelet, B., & Paquot, M. (2008). Dietary fibre components and pectin chemical features of peels during ripening in banana and plantain varieties. Bioresource Technology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2007.08.030
  • Paull, R. E., & Duarte, O. (2010). Banana and plantain. In Tropical fruits, Volume 1. https://doi.org/10.1079/9781845936723.0185
  • Yang, Q. S., Gao, J., He, W. Di, Dou, T. X., Ding, L. J., Wu, J. H., … Yi, G. J. (2015). Comparative transcriptomics analysis reveals difference of key gene expression between banana and plantain in response to cold stress. BMC Genomics. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-015-1551-z