Three Nutritional Differences Between Bananas and Plantains

January 8, 2019
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. 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!


Bananas and plantains

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

Because of this, they can easily be found is 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.

The nutritional value of 100 grams of a 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 also belong to the Musaceae family, but it is 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 pasty consistency. That makes them one of the 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, bananas and plantains can be differentiated with greater precision when it comes to:

1. Microminerals

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

However, they contain more potassium, containing 63.3 grams for every 100 grams of fruit.

Also, they contain more sodium, beating bananas by 2 grams for every 100 grams.

2. Calories

Plantains contain more calories, with 90 for every 100 grams of fruit.

This makes bananas a better option when it comes to keeping a healthy diet that is low in calories.

3. Protein

Even though bananas are low in calories, plantains have four times the amount of protein, vitamin A and iron. This makes it the better option for providing your body with a greater quantity of benefits.

Bananas provide us with a lot of benefits when it comes to losing weight. However, as we have seen, plantains are able to provide us with more properties. 

Also, they provide more vitamins and minerals to those who eat them.

  • 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.
  • Paull, R. E., & Duarte, O. (2010). Banana and plantain. In Tropical fruits, Volume 1.
  • 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.