Do bananas cause constipation?There are some people who think that bananas and constipation are correlated with each other. If you would try searching online, you will see a lot of advice stating that all types of bananas should be avoided because this will only cause constipation. Then you may start searching some more and see that there are some people saying that if you want more frequent bowel movements, you should consume some bananas. This will only leave you feeling confused and thinking, “What is the truth?”
Bananas are one one of the fruits that a lot of people like. It may be because of its distinct taste that you will not taste in any other fruit. It is also very easy to serve to babies because they are easy to mash. It can also be filling and can make an empty stomach growl less when eaten. They are delicious and they are available all year round. Yet, some people are trying to stop themselves from consuming bananas probably because they think that it causes them to constipate.
The main reason why you are researching if bananas cause constipation may be because you are suffering from constipation and you want to get rid of it so you have normal bowels again. You are not alone. All over the world, there are so many people who are also suffering from less than frequent bowel movements and like you, they are also searching for possible solutions to their problems.
Even before we tackle if bananas can truly cause constipation or not, let us focus on the probable causes of constipation like the following:
Common Causes of constipation
- Lack of intake of fiber rich food products (fruits and vegetables) – This is for people who normally eat meat, poultry and seafood but will try to veer away from eating fruits and vegetables.
- Lack of water intake – For some people, taking water can be a challenge because they do not like the fact that water almost has no taste.
- No physical activity – This is actually common for people who are working in offices. They feel that they do not have time to exert some effort into exercising anymore.
- Reduction in Calorie Intake – If you have suddenly decided to go on a diet, your body would need to adjust to the new amount of food that you are going to take.
- Medications – There are some prescription drugs that may have constipation as one of the side effects.
- Dairy – For those who are not lactose intolerant, they may have the tendency to consume too much dairy which can eventually lead to having constipation.
It is important that before you worry whether bananas are causing you to feel constipated or not, you have to take a look at the reasons that are given above and see if these may be your reasons for being constipated.
Now if you want to focus on bananas again, then let me tell you that there are some people who have stated that they have eaten bananas and has trouble defecating. Then there are also some people who said that after they started eating bananas, that is the time when they started to enjoy more regular bowel movements. What is the reason for this? It is very simple – this all boils down to the ripeness of the banana.
Do Bananas Cause Constipation?Ripeness – The Factor in Banana Constipation
You have to think about this hard, what type of banana do you usually like eating? A lot of people would say that they like their bananas about 90% ripe. This means that there are still some green parts that are showing. The main reason why they like this type of banana is because it is still a bit hard and there are no brown spots that are available.
You may think that a banana having brown spots means that it is not fit to be eaten anymore but this is where you are wrong. A truly ripe banana is the one that will not cause constipation. This means that you can eat about 2 – 3 a day and not complain of stomach issues. The banana can be easily digested by your system while the unripe banana may cause some issues.
You may not think that this is a big deal but the components of an unripe banana and a ripe banana are completely different. Unripe bananas contain insoluble fiber that will not be dissolved and removed by the body. This fiber will then get stuck in the gut as one big lump that will be hard to remove unless you drink a lot of water. A ripe banana still comes with fiber but this is a soluble variety which can make stools softer and easier to pass.
Just imagine, an unripe and green banana contains a lot of starch and just a bit of sugar. Starch will not be broken down by the body easily and this can cause constipation. Once the banana becomes a bit yellowish, the amount of starch lessens tremendously. A fully ripe banana can only contain 5% of starch which means that all the other 95% can be broken down by the body easily.
You may be thinking that from starch, what does banana contain? The starch in banana as it ripens become sugar. Too much sugar can be bad for the body, yes and this is the reason why bananas should be eaten in moderation. Remember though that since the sugar in banana is unprocessed fructose, this means that they are still healthy for your body.
Another Reason Why Bananas Can Be Good for Constipation
If there is another reason why ripe bananas can be good for constipation, it is because they contain ethylene gas. Through ethylene gas, a type of enzyme called pectinase is formed. This is responsible for the breaking down of pectin of banana cells. When there are lesser amounts of pectin found in the banana, the easier it is for the body to break it down.
If you are not sure what pectin is, this improves the viscosity of stools which means that your stools will become harder and even harder to remove from your body. The lesser amount of pectin there is in a banana, the easier for your body to pass stools. There are times when consuming bananas that still contain more pectin is good for you. For example, if you are suffering from diarrhea and you need something that can make your stools harder, this is recommended. Just remember that when consuming bananas that still contain a lot of pectin, it is best to eat only small amounts.
How Will You Know if the Banana is Ripe Enough?
You may think that as long as the banana is yellow, it can already be ripe enough to be eaten but this is not the case at all. You may think that smooth and bananas without speckles and brown spots are the best because admittedly, they look perfect but then again, you are only recommended to eat bananas once brown spots start to appear on its skin.
Of course there are other things to check if the banana is already ripe or not:
- If there are still some green spots on the banana, this is not ready to be eaten just yet.
- It is hard to remove the skin of the banana.
- You even find it hard to remove the banana from the other bananas.
It may be confusing at times to see that a banana is still a bit green but there are already brown spots that are starting to appear on its skin. Some people say that this is already good for eating. You may want to try this out if there are no other bananas that are available but if there are any, try to stick with the ripe ones.
A Tip to Remember
No matter how many ripe bananas you eat in order to increase your bowel movements, nothing good will come out of it if you would not make the effort to drink water. If you are dehydrated, your stools will become harder which can make stools harder to pass and remove from your body. If you do not like drinking water, you can consume more clear soups and other fluids just as long as these fluids will not affect your bowels.
It is evident that bananas can and cannot cause constipation. It all lies in the ripeness of the banana that you are going to consume. It is best to be picky about the banana that you are going to eat so you will not suffer from constipation and stomach pain. Think about all the other good things that bananas can give you: it can help give you the required energy you need throughout the day and it can give you the required amount of vitamin C and potassium that will keep your body healthy. Do not try to avoid eating bananas because of your fear that you are going to be constipated. Just pick the right banana and you will have more regular bowels.