10 Types of Bananas I Bet You Never Knew Existed

Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.
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Banana eating record: Most eaten in 1 minute. In 2012, a man from Illinois, USA, peeled and gobbled down eight bananas in 60 seconds. He broke the world record for peeling and eating the most number of bananas in one minute.

First, check out this excellent ‘Crunchy Fried Banana Recipe’.

How Much Do You Know About Bananas?

Bananas are elongated, edible berries produced by several species of big herbaceous flowering plants of the genus Musa. Cooking bananas are sometimes referred to as “plantains” in some countries, to distinguish them from dessert bananas.

The size, color, and firmness of the fruit vary with soft, starchy flesh covered by a rind that is green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when mature. Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana are two wild species that produce almost all modern edible seedless (parthenocarp) bananas.

Fun fact: The bananas we eat today, the Cavendish, are different from pre-1960s’ bananas, the Gros Michael, as those have been wiped out by “the Panama disease.”

Between 5000 BC and 8000 BC, the banana was initially cultivated in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea. Southeast and South Asia have the most genetic diversity, followed by the African continent. Cultivation in Africa is said to have started anywhere between 2000 BC and 600 AD.

There was a cross-breeding of two varieties of wild bananas, the Musa Acuminata and the Musa Baalbisiana. From this process, some bananas became seedless and more like the bananas, we eat today.

The earliest documentary reference to bananas in Africa is from the sixth century A.D. Historians and archaeologists often thought that bananas were probably introduced to Africa via Madagascar, which was colonized by people from Southeast Asia in the first millennium A.D.

Gros Michel, often known as “Big Mike“, is an export cultivar of banana and was, until the 1950s, the main variety grown. The physical properties of the Gros Michel make it excellent export produce; its thick peel makes it resilient to bruising during transport and the dense bunches that it grows in makes it easy to ship.


Types of Bananas

1. Cavendish Banana

cavendish banana
Image credit: Kapsam

The Cavendish banana is a common banana found at the supermarket or farmer’s market. They have a creamy texture and are mildly sweet. They ripen at three different stages under-ripe, ripe, and over-ripe. They go from green to yellow, to deep yellow with brown spots and are the most popular varieties of bananas.



2. Gros Michel Banana

Gros Michel banana
Image credit: Atlas Obscura

This type has a taste and size close to Cavendish. It isn’t as widely available as the other types. Gros Michel has a sweet flavor, a robust aroma, and a creamier texture that may be used to make banana pies!



3. Red Banana

red bananas
Image credit: Healthline

Red bananas have reddish-purple skin and are a popular fruit. They come in a variety of sizes and have flesh that is pale pink or orange in color. They are sweeter and softer than Cavendish bananas and have a faint raspberry flavor. South America, Asia, East Africa, and the United Arab Emirates are the primary producers.

4. Ladyfinger Banana

lady finger banana
Image credit: Women’s Corner

The ‘Lady Finger’ banana is a cigar-shaped, delicious fruit that is 4-5 inches long. When completely ripe, they feature a bright yellow thin peel with brown specks. The flesh is richer and creamier than that of other banana cultivars.


5. Blue Java Banana

blue java banana
Image credit: Times of India

The Blue Java is a hardy, cold-tolerant banana cultivar known for its sweet aromatic fruit, which is said to have an ice cream-like consistency and flavor reminiscent of vanilla.




6. Dwarf Red Jamaican Banana

Dwarf Jamaican banana
Image credit: Frutas tropicales

It’s also known as the Cuban red banana, and when fully ripe, it turns a sunset yellow color. It’s a smaller version of the Cavendish, with creamy to pink flesh and a raspberry flavor. You can slice and use in salads or eat it raw when ripe.




7. Fehi Bananas

fehi banana
Image credit: Specialty produce

The peel of the Fehi banana is orange to red, with yellow or orange flesh. When boiled or baked, it is thought to be more healthy and tasty. Because the fruit has a higher proportion of starch and low sugar than other banana kinds, it is described as “unpleasantly astringent” when eaten raw.




8. Barangan Banana

Image credit: Wikimedia

The yellow-colored peel of the Barangan Banana has black spots and a somewhat sweet taste. It has seedless meat that is completely white. This cultivar is widely consumed as a dessert in many tropical countries.



9. Manzano Banana

Image credit Produce Market Guide

This gourmet banana, often known as the “apple banana,” is a stubby, thick-skinned golden-yellow fruit with a delightful, sweet taste with hints of apple and strawberry. When ripe, this short, plump, finger-sized cultivar turns a dark golden color.




10. Bluggoe Banana

silver bluggoe local banana Image credit Dreamstime

The Bluggoe banana produces huge, straight fruits. This type is resistant to Panama disease and has a starchy texture. Although it can be eaten raw, it is primarily used for cooking in Burma, Thailand, southern India, and East Africa.


The Difference Between Banana and Plantain

The distinction between “bananas” and “plantains” is blurred around the world. Bananas are most commonly associated with soft, sweet dessert bananas. Plantains, on the other hand, are Musa varieties that have firmer, starchier fruit.

So although very similar, there are a few key differences, especially in terms of flavor and usage.

As stated earlier, Banana is a term used for the edible fruits produced by various large, herbaceous plants in the genus Musa. Whereas, the term “plantain” refers to a banana variety with a distinct flavor profile and culinary use from the sweet, yellow banana most people are familiar with.

Often referred to as “cooking banana”, plantains are banana cultivars in the genus Musa whose fruits are generally used in cooking. They may be eaten ripe or unripe and are generally starchy. Many cooking bananas are referred to as plantains or green bananas, although not all of them are true plantains.

Although very similar, there are some nutritional differences between the two, which would be discussed later in this article.

Nutrient Composition

Bananas are one of the healthiest fruits in the world because they are packed full of vitamins and minerals – especially potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. The nutrition facts for 1 medium-sized banana (100 grams) are:

  • Calories: 89 – This fruit is rich in carbs which mostly come as starch in unripe bananas and sugar in ripe bananas. The carb composition of bananas changes significantly upon ripening. In terms of dry weight, green bananas contain up to 80% starch. The starch in this fruit is transformed into sugars during ripening and amounts to less than 1% when completely ripe. Sucrose, fructose, and glucose are the most frequent sugars found in ripe bananas. The total sugar content of ripe bananas might exceed 16 percent of the fresh weight. This fruit has a low glycemic index (GI), ranging from 42 to 58 depending on ripeness. The GI is a measurement of how quickly carbohydrates in food enter the bloodstream and raise blood sugar levels. Bananas’ low GI is due to their high amount of resistant starch and fiber.
  • Water: 75%
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams – Unripe bananas contain a high percentage of resistant starch, which passes through your intestines undigested. This starch is digested by bacteria in your large intestine to generate butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that appears to improve gut health.

This fruit also contains pectin, which is a form of fiber. Water-soluble pectin can be found in bananas. The quantity of water-soluble pectin in this fruit increases as they mature, which is one of the key reasons why bananas soften with age. Pectin and resistant starch both help to keep blood sugar levels in check after a meal.

  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Vitamins and minerals: This fruit is high in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, among other vitamins and minerals.

This fruit contains a lot of potassium. Potassium-rich foods can help persons with high blood pressure reduce their blood pressure and improve their heart health.

Vitamin B6 is abundant in this fruit. This vitamin can be found in up to 33 percent of the Daily Value (DV) in one medium banana.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Bananas, like most fruits, are high in vitamin C.

The Nutritional Difference Between Bananas and Plantains

Below is nutrition info for 100 grams (roughly a 1/2 cup) of bananas and plantains:

Bananas Plantains
Calories 89 116
Carbs 23 grams 31 grams
Fiber 3 grams 2 grams
Potassium 358 mg 465 mg
Magnesium 27 mg 32 mg
Vitamin C 9 mg 11 mg

Source: Healthline

Are Bananas Fattening?

Raw bananas (not including the peel) are 75% water, 23% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and contain negligible fat. A 100-gram reference serving supplies 89 Calories, 31% of the US recommended Daily Value (DV) of vitamin B6, and moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber, with no other micronutrients in significant content (check above).

So the answer is, No. For more information on this, Click this link to find out

Health Benefits of Bananas

1. Energy and mood booster:

According to the National Institutes of Health, bananas provide 6% of your daily requirement of vitamin B9 (commonly known as folate), a substance that may help battle depression by enhancing a substrate that has antidepressant qualities.

In other words, it aids the speedier entry of serotonin, the feel-good chemical, into the brain. According to studies, patients with depression have blood folate levels that are 25 percent lower than healthy people. If you’re on antidepressants, some doctors recommend boosting your folate intake to help them work better.

2. Relieves stress and anxiety

This fruit also contains tryptophan, which is a precursor for serotonin, one of the most important brain chemicals. Serotonin is a natural anti-depressant that can alleviate anxiety and insomnia, as well as other mood concerns like exhaustion, irritability, agitation, rage, and aggression.

Bananas also contain norepinephrine, which helps to reduce stress by regulating our “fight or flight response.” They’re a fantastic, natural, whole-food method to boost your mood and prevent depression.

3. Improves heart health

These fruits are high in potassium, which aids in the delivery of oxygen to the brain by the circulatory system. According to the National Institutes of Health, this also aids in the maintenance of a normal pulse, decreased blood pressure, and a proper water balance in the body.

Despite its importance, only a small percentage of the population consumes adequate potassium. Bananas are a good source of potassium in the diet. 9 percent of the RDI is found in one medium-sized banana (118 grams).

Potassium-rich foods can help lower blood pressure, and potassium-rich people have a 27 percent lower risk of heart disease. Bananas also contain a significant amount of magnesium, which is beneficial to heart health.

4. Improves digestive health

Many health advantages have been linked to dietary fiber, including improved digestion. Bananas provide roughly 3 grams of fiber per medium-sized banana, making them a good source of fiber.

Bananas are high in two forms of fiber:

  • Pectin: As the banana ripens, the pectin content decreases.
  • Resistant starch: Unripe bananas contain resistant starch. Resistant starch gets through your digestive system and ends up in your large intestine, where it feeds your gut bacteria.

Pectin may also help protect against colon cancer, according to several test-tube studies.

5. Helps regulate blood pressure levels

These fruits contain a lot of potassium, a mineral that plays a vital role in managing hypertension. One medium-sized banana contains around 422 milligrams of potassium. Potassium reduces the effect of sodium on the body. Hence, eating bananas lowers blood pressure due to their high potassium content. You can try eating 2 bananas per day for one week which may reduce your blood pressure by 10%.

6. Aids in weight loss

Bananas are good for weight loss because they have fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you full. Research has found that eating high levels of fiber can reduce the risk of weight gain by up to 30%. You can eat up to one banana a day as part of a healthy diet for weight loss. Eating more fibers from fruits and vegetables have been linked to lower body weight and weight loss.

They also contain calories of just above 100 which provides fruits’ natural sugar. When trying to lose weight, a general rule of thumb is to reduce your calorie intake to 500 fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight. This will help you lose about 1 pound (0.45 kg) of body weight per week making bananas an important item to add to a weight loss diet.

7. Helps regulate blood sugar levels

Pectin, a type of fiber found in this fruit, is responsible for the flesh’s spongy structure. Resistant starch, found in unripe bananas, functions like soluble fiber and resists digestion. By slowing the emptying of your stomach, pectin and resistant starch may help to regulate blood sugar levels after meals and reduce hunger.

These fruits also have a low to medium glycemic index (GI), which is a scale ranging from 0 to 100 that indicates how quickly meals raise blood sugar levels. Unripe bananas have a GI of around 30, while ripe bananas have a GI of around 60. Bananas have an average value of 51. This indicates that in healthy people, bananas should not produce significant blood sugar rises.

People with type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, should probably avoid eating a lot of well-ripened bananas and closely check their blood sugar if they do.


Fun Fact: The inside of a banana peel can help relieve itching and inflammation, such as from bug bites or poison ivy.

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Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.

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