Most people are puzzled when it comes to the effects of bananas on bowel movements. Bananas are high in dietary fiber, which is favorable for regular bowel movements, but on the other hand, this fruit is known for triggering constipation too. Since the two effects are completely opposite, this may come off as a paradox of sorts.
Many people will testify that eating a banana first thing in the morning assures healthy and regular bowel movement. Also, people who suffer from constipation are often told by their doctors and health practitioners to stay off bananas for a while.
The truth is that bananas can have both effects on bowel movement. The question, however, is, what factors determine which effect will take place?
Bananas as a cure for constipation
Bananas are among the most widely used fruits in the world. They are very nutritious and they are especially valuable for their potassium content. They also contain zinc, calcium, copper, vitamins, and they are rich in dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber is a form of pectin, which increases the bulk of the bowels, making the stool softer and much easier to pass. A diet high in fiber is a must for everyone who is prone to constipation. A single banana provides up to 15 percent of the daily requirement of fiber. It only makes sense that bananas are beneficial for regular and healthy bowel movement.
Bananas causing constipation
Even though they are rich in fiber, bananas can cause constipation too. In fact, while ripe bananas can help against constipation, unripe or green ones are known for causing the problem. The pieces of green bananas can block the intestines and cause discomfort along with constipation. Starch present in bananas also makes the problem worse.
In addition, eating five or six bananas a day and not drinking enough water will cause hard stool that can be very difficult to pass, because the starch from bananas absorbs the water from the intestine. It is recommended to eat no more than one or two bananas a day in order to maintain regular bowel movement.
Babies who are constipated should not be given bananas, especially not the unripe ones. It is best to consult a doctor about bananas when the baby starts eating solid foods.
Ripe bananas can aggravate diarrhea so they are not recommended for persons who suffer from it.
The general rule is to eat only one or two ripe bananas a day, and to drink plenty of water. People who have constipation or diarrhea should wait until their condition clears before eating any bananas.