Bananas are healthy, filling snacks for anyone on the go! But, do they actually make you poop? I’ve done some research and here’s what I found.
According to NDTVFood, the high fiber content in bananas makes them a good choice for constipation relief. They help your body excrete waste by making the stools easier to pass. Bananas are also high in potassium, which helps to restore important electrolytes back into the digestive tract.
Keep reading to find out exactly how bananas make you poop, as well as the benefits and precautions when using them as a natural laxative.
How Do Bananas Make You Poop?
Bananas are not only a convenient snack, but they are also rich in several important vitamins and minerals. In fact, one banana contains about 3.1 grams of fiber. Fiber is well-known for its abilities to prevent and combat constipation, however, there is some conflicting information surrounding this.
Bananas do contain soluble fiber, which is known to absorb water and help the stools to stay large and soft, helping them to move more smoothly along the digestive tract.
With that being said, there is evidence that supports the claim that fiber relieves constipation, but it is surprisingly weak. Despite this, many health professionals still highly recommend fiber to combat constipation.
The bottom line is that results seem to vary from person to person, and the type of fiber that you are consuming also plays a role in the effectiveness.
The Importance of Fiber & Staying Hydrated
One common mistake that people make is failing to drink enough water when following a diet that is high in fiber. If you are not supplying your body with sufficient water, no matter how much fiber you consume, your stools won’t soften or move smoothly through the digestive tract and you will remain constipated.
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of constipation, so make sure that you are drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily!
Which Bananas Are Better For Constipation Relief?
Bananas vary in color and texture depending on their stage of ripeness, but does this mean anything more in terms of their health benefits? Keep reading to learn more about each stage and what benefits they provide:
01. Green Bananas
Green bananas are at the earliest stage of ripening, and they are completely unripe and slightly bitter in taste. They are also harder in texture and have a higher content of starches such as resistant starch and pectins.
Both pectin and resistant starch work the same as soluble fiber, in that they have a prebiotic effect. This means that they help to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
While green bananas are good for your overall gut health, the resistant starches may prove more difficult for your body to digest properly. This means they may aggravate your constipation further. With that being said, green bananas may be a better option for anyone suffering from diarrhea, according to one study.
02. Yellow bananas
Yellow bananas tend to lose their starch content as they ripen. However, this doesn’t mean the starch disappears altogether. It simply converts into simple sugars, which increases the glycemic index and the sweetness of the fruit.
As the resistant starches break down, the banana becomes much easier to digest. Yellow bananas are also high in soluble and insoluble fibers, with roughly 3 grams per banana. This helps your bowel movements to be more regular.
While yellow bananas may be higher in sugar than green bananas, they may be more beneficial for digestion and regularity as they are lower in resistant starches.
03. Brown bananas
Brown bananas, similar to yellow, will also continue to lose resistant starch as they ripen. Since they are higher in sugars and carbohydrates, they may cause an inflammatory reaction to some people.
For others, brown bananas can actually be really beneficial for digestion, as they are lower in resistant starches. They are also the highest in antioxidants, which is certainly an added benefit!
While the prospect of eating a brown banana may not be exciting, you can blend them into a smoothie or even make banana bread with them to reap the full benefits.
They are super easy to digest, making them an excellent choice for combating constipation for most people. If you do have a sensitivity to sugars and carbohydrates, you may want to give them a miss, though.
Can Bananas Cause Constipation?
Many articles on the internet have stated that bananas may cause constipation, but there are no studies that conclusively confirm this. It seems to affect each person differently.
However, there is one study conducted by German researchers that investigated this. They looked at various food items and their effect on the consistency of stools.
Of these, 766 patients had IBS and suffered from constipation as a result. The other 122 patients also had constipation, and the remaining 200 were healthy individuals used as a control.
When the 3 groups were questioned which foods or beverages caused constipation, 29-48% of the participants mentioned bananas! However, this is simply one survey that was conducted, and there is no conclusive evidence that supports this claim.
Do Bananas Cause Diarrhea?
For the average, healthy individual bananas will not cause diarrhea. However, for a very small percentage, they could possibly. A very small percentage of people are allergic to bananas, and they could experience diarrhea as a result of this.
People with IBS also tend to be very sensitive to certain foods, meaning that they could get very sick from eating something that a healthy person would have no problem with.
For example, someone with IBS may get very sick from eating lettuce, whereas a healthy person will have no problems at all. The same applies for bananas!
If you find that bananas don’t agree with your stomach, then the best thing would be to eliminate them and see if anything changes. If you suspect you may have an allergy to banana, it is best to see your doctor.
How Do Bananas Affect The Gut?
Bananas can also do wonders for the bacteria found in your gut, as they feed the friendly bacteria and stimulate their growth. In one study, 34 overweight women were examined on the effects of eating bananas.
After the women ate two bananas daily or a period of two months, the researchers discovered that, after observing the bacteria in the gut, that there was a small increase in the levels of beneficial bacteria, known as Bifidobacteria.
Additionally, the group of women who ate bananas reported improvements in digestive symptoms such as stomach cramps and bloating, meaning bananas certainly do help with digestive problems when eaten regularly.
How Many Bananas Should You Eat Daily?
According to LiveScience, the USDA recommends that adults eat about two cups of fruit per day, and that equates to two bananas. Since bananas are higher in calories than most other fruits and are very filling, it is not recommended to eat too many of them.
This is because over 90% of the calories in bananas come from carbohydrates, and for green bananas, the main source of the carbohydrates is from starch. As the fruit ripens, this is converted to sugar, meaning that a large portion of your calories will also come from sugar, which is not ideal.
It is therefore much better to stick to your two cups of fruit or two bananas per day and incorporate a variety of other foods that contain protein and fiber to balance things out rather than eating copious quantities of one food type.
Remember, you can have too much of a good thing!
The bottom line is that bananas are good for your bowels and your gut, so long as they are eaten in moderation with a healthy, balanced diet to supplement this. While some people have reported negative reactions, this is not common and depends entirely on the individual. Try to incorporate your two bananas into your daily diet, and adjust your intake as your body reacts.