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Red Bananas: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More By Dr. Smita Barode

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

Most people are familiar with the traditional yellow banana, but very few know about its red-skinned cousin or the red banana. Red banana, also known as the Colorado banana, Musa acuminata Dacca banana, Cuban banana, red Spanish banana or lal Kela, originated in India and Southeast Asia but is now widely grown in the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Island. In India, these are widely grown in Karnataka and adjacent districts. The Kamalapur red banana variety is exclusively cultivated in Kamalapur village in Karnataka. They are available year around. Red bananas are soft and have a sweet flavour when ripe. In comparison with yellow bananas, these are sweeter and less acidic. This fruit has gained popularity because of its health benefits, which make it a great dietary choice. Let us read more about the health benefits of red bananas.1 

Nutritional Value of Red banana: 

Red banana are laden with the goodness of dietary fibre, carbohydrates, vitamin B9 and C, minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, etc. and antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins etc. The nutritional components of Red banana are mentioned in the table below: 


Nutritional components Value per 100 g 
Energy 89 kCal 
Carbohydrates 22.84 g 
Fibre 2.6 g 
Protein 1.09 g 
Fats 0.33 g 
Potassium 358 mg 
Magnesium 27 mg 
Phosphorus  22 mg 
Vitamin C 8.7 mg 
Calcium 5.0 mg 
Sodium 1.3 mg 
Vitamin B9 13.6 mcg 

Table 1: Nutritional value of red banana2 

Properties of Red banana: 

Scientifically proven properties of red banana include: 

  • It may have anti-microbial properties.3 
  • It may have antioxidant properties.4 
  • It may have laxative(stool-softening) properties.5 
  • It may have the property to reduce acidity.5 
  • It might be able to improve the vision.5 
  • It might reduce the uncontrolled growth of cells.6 
  • It may have an anti-diabetic property.7 

Slow down the process of ageing with red banana! Researchers believe red bananas might offer a natural remedy for the ageing process as red bananas are believed to be rich in antioxidants.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Potential Uses of Red banana for Overall Health 

Some of the potential benefits of Red banana are described as under:  

1. Potential uses of Red banana in Diabetes 

Diabetes (Type 1 and 2) is a metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood glucose levels. Many anti-diabetic drugs act by inhibiting an enzyme (alpha-amylase) which causes a spike in blood glucose by converting carbohydrates into simple sugars. A study done by Adedayo et al. in 2016 found that red bananas may help manage type-2 diabetes by inhibiting the alpha-amylase enzyme. Also, red bananas have a low glycemic index which may positively impact diabetes. This indicates red bananas may help manage diabetes. However, more studies are needed to support these claims with greater reliability.7 

2. Potential uses of Red banana in Breast Cancer 

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. Literature reviews support that dietary modification may help reduce breast cancer risk. Rusmiati et al. conducted a study to assess the anticancer potential of red bananas on breast cancer cells in 2021; the study findings stated that red bananas may help by stopping the growth of breast cancer cells. This effect is attributed to phytochemicals like tannins, flavonoids, saponins and alkaloids, which possess anticancer properties.8 Since, enough clinical evidence isn’t available to support these claims, it is best to take a professional opinion if you suspect breast cancer. 

3. Potential uses of Red banana for Hypertension 

Literature reviews support that dietary interventions may help in reducing hypertension or high blood pressure. Pelegrino et al. in a review in 2020 stated that red bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which may help relax the blood vessels and thus reduce blood pressure. This indicates that the consumption of red bananas may help manage blood pressure. However, there is a deficiency of research to support these claims.9 

4. Potential uses of Red banana on Vision 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease occurring with advancing age that causes vision loss.  A review by Pelegrino et al. in 2020 showed that red bananas are rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from damage. This indicates that the consumption of red bananas may positively impact AMD. Additionally, being a good source of antioxidants like vitamin A, a component of a protein called rhodopsin, allows you to see in low-light conditions. Thus, red bananas may help improve vision. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. Therefore, we need more studies to support these claims.9 

5. Potential uses of Red banana in Systemic Sclerosis  

Systemic sclerosis or crest syndrome is characterized by the hardening and tightening of the skin and internal organs like the lungs, blood vessels and digestive tract. This is caused due to the abnormal accumulation of a protein called collagen, which is found in the skin. Fruits that are deep red and green may help reduce systemic sclerosis due to the presence of anthocyanins, which help in reducing the accumulation of collagen. This indicates that red bananas may be able to help in systemic sclerosis. However, there is no scientific study done to support these claims.10, 11 

6. Other potential uses of Red banana: 12, 13 

  • Red bananas, due to their high iron content, may help in managing iron-deficiency anemia. 
  • Red bananas are rich in fibre, which helps in increasing satiety and reducing binge eating and thus, it may help in weight loss. Additionally, the presence of fibre in red bananas may improve digestive health and may relieve constipation. 
  • Red bananas are rich in calcium and potassium, so they may help improve bone health. 
  • The presence of antioxidants and vitamins in red bananas may help in blood purification. 
  • Red bananas, a good source of vitamins such as Vitamin B6, may help boost metabolism as well as immunity.   
  • The presence of potassium and magnesium may help the body to manage the effects of nicotine withdrawal, and make it easy for breaking the cycle of addiction.  
  • Red bananas being a good source of vitamins such as Vitamin B6 may help in regulating menstrual cycle. The presence of potassium in red bananas may also help in reducing abdominal cramps during menstrual cycle. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of Red banana in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of Red banana on human health.  

Let’s talk about the potential of red banana as a nutrient-rich food! Researchers believe that due to the rich content of antioxidants, red bananas might be used as a functional food to provide additional nutrients and increase health benefits.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Red banana? 

  • Red bananas are delicious when eaten fresh; cooking processes like baking and sautéing may enhance the flavor. 
  • Red bananas can be added to desserts or paired with apples, berries, and citrus fruits in fruit salads.  
  • Red bananas are also added to savory dishes as they go well with black beans, meat, etc.1 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Red bananas may be used as a natural dye. Yes, recent studies suggest that other than its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, red banana peels are believed to be rich in pigments such as flavonoids and hence might be used as a natural dye for food.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Side Effects of Red banana: 

  • Priyanga et al. conducted a study in 2022 which showed that consuming bananas can sometimes result in banana allergy due to the presence of banana proteins which trigger an abnormal immune response.14 
  • Consumption of red bananas in excess can result in vomiting, bloating, flatulence, nausea, etc.15 
  • Additionally, an excessive consumption of red bananas will spike up potassium levels in the body and can result in abnormal cardiac rhythm (an increase in heart rate).15 

However, if you experience any adverse reactions to Red banana, it is advised to discontinue its intake and immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms. 

Also Read: Banana Peel for Skin: Unearthing The Research-Backed Benefits and Uses

Precautions to take with Red banana: 

Consuming red banana is okay if taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be followed in the following conditions: 13 

  • If you ever experience skin rashes, breathlessness or swelling after eating a red banana, there are chances that you may be allergic to them; it is advised to consult a doctor for proper advice. 
  • Red bananas being highly nutritious are given to babies; it is advised to ensure that fully ripe and mashed red bananas without any lumps are used for easy swallowing by the babies. 

Also Read: What Are Symptoms of Low Potassium: Understanding and Managing Hypokalemia

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

  • Red banana are known to cause a reduction in blood pressure, so if you’re on antihypertensive medicines, eating a red banana and your medications can cause your blood pressure to drop too low.  
  • Red bananas due to high content of potassium can show a significant interaction with certain blood pressure reducing medicines (potassium sparing diuretics), which also increase levels of potassium in the body, which can result in an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or an abnormality in kidney function. 

However, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician about the possible interaction of Red banana with other drugs and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking.15 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What is red banana also known as? 

Red banana, is also known as the Colorado banana, Musa acuminata, Dacca banana, Cuban banana, red Spanish banana or lal Kela.1 

2) Can red banana help in weight loss? 

Yes, red bananas are rich in fibre, which helps in increasing satiety and reducing binge eating and thus may help in weight loss.1 

3) Can I be allergic to red banana?  

Yes, if you ever experience skin rashes, breathlessness or swelling after eating a red banana, there are chances that you may be allergic to them; it is advised to consult a doctor for proper advice.3 

4) What are the benefits of red bananas for digestion? 

Yes, the presence of fibre in red bananas may improve digestive health and may relieve constipation. 

5) Can red bananas be used to manage anaemia? 

Yes, red bananas, due to their high iron content, may help in managing iron-deficiency anemia. 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes. 

References: 

  1.  B.W.H. and Wu, B. (2016) 13 amazing health benefits of Red Banana (better than yellow banana!), Lifehack. Available at: https://www.lifehack.org/453528/13-amazing-health-benefits-of-red-banana-better-than-yellow-banana (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Red banana: Health benefits and Nutrition, Healthy Day. Available at: https://healthyday.net/red-banana-health-benefits-and-nutrition/ (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Kapadia, Suraj Premal et al. “Detection of antimicrobial activity of banana peel (Musa paradisiaca L.) on Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans: An in vitro study.” Contemporary clinical dentistry vol. 6,4 (2015): 496-9. doi:10.4103/0976-237X.169864. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4678547/ 
  1. Ogbonna Obiageli A, Izundu A. I., Okoye Nkechi Helen And Ikeyi Adachukwu Pauline., (2016), Phytochemical, Compositions of Fruits of Three Musa Species at Three Stages of Development. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences (IOSR -JPBS), e-ISSN: 2278- 3008. Available at: http://ijrar.com/upload_issue/ijrar_issue_20543563.pdf 
  1. Medicinal properties of the Banana Plant / Banana Tree (no date) Medindia. Available at: https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/medicinal-properties-of-the-banana-plant.htm (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Rusmiati, N.C. (no date) The ethanol extract of red banana peel (m.acuminata Colla) induce cell death and inhibit metastatic of breast cancer, Annals of the Romanian Society for Cell Biology. Available at: https://www.annalsofrscb.ro/index.php/journal/article/view/9007 (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Adedayo, B.C. et al. (2016) Antioxidant and antihyperglycemic properties of three banana cultivars (Musa spp..), Scientifica. Hindawi. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2016/8391398/ (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Rusmiati, N.C. The ethanol extract of red banana peel (m.acuminata Colla) induce cell death and inhibit metastatic of breast cancer, Annals of the Romanian Society for Cell Biology. Available at: https://www.annalsofrscb.ro/index.php/journal/article/view/9007 (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Pelegrino, E.N. (2022) Why do red bananas preferred as a healthy alternative than other variety?, National Nutrition Council. Available at: https://www.nnc.gov.ph//regional-offices/mindanao/region-ix-zamboanga-peninsula/8953-why-do-red-bananas-preferred-as-a-healthy-alternative-than-other-variety (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Jinnin, Masatoshi. “Mechanisms of skin fibrosis in systemic sclerosis.” The Journal of dermatology vol. 37,1 (2010): 11-25. doi:10.1111/j.1346-8138.2009.00738.x. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20175837/ 
  1. Malnutrition for Scleroderma | Michigan Medicine. Available at: https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/rheumatology/nutrition-scleroderma (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Benefits of eating red bananas in Summers (no date) in. Available at: https://www.digisfresh.in/post/benefits-of-eating-red-bananas-in-summers (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Writer, B.W.H. and Wu, B. (2016) 13 amazing health benefits of Red Banana (better than yellow banana!), Lifehack. Available at: https://www.lifehack.org/453528/13-amazing-health-benefits-of-red-banana-better-than-yellow-banana (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
  1. Suriyamoorthy, Priyanga et al. “Comprehensive Review on Banana Fruit Allergy: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Management, and Potential Modification of Allergens through Food Processing.” Plant foods for human nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands) vol. 77,2 (2022): 159-171. doi:10.1007/s11130-022-00976-1. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35661960/ 
  1. Red Banana Benefits for fertility (male & female) (2022) Marham. Available at: https://www.marham.pk/healthblog/red-banana-benefits-for-fertility/ (Accessed: December 19, 2022).  
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