While most people in the West are familiar with the traditional yellow banana, the fact of the matter is that their red-skinned cousins actually offer you a bigger variety of health benefits. Red bananas – also called Red Spanish or Cuban bananas, Colorado bananas or Lal kela – are native to India and Southeast Asia, but are now also grown in Australia, New Zealand and many places in the Pacific Islands. However, they are growing more popular in the West as people discover just how healthy they are.
1. Increased Immunity
A red banana is rich in both beta-carotene and vitamin C (to the tune of 16% of your recommended daily allowance). These powerful antioxidants are able to help boost the immune system and make it easier for your body to fight off bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms in order to stay healthy and have fewer problems like colds and flu.
2. Boosted Energy Levels
A red banana contains three different varieties of natural sugars: fructose, sucrose and glucose. Because some of these sugars are broken down quickly and other slowly, eating this fruit will give you both a burst of quick energy and then slow, sustained energy throughout the day. This is what makes it a perfect breakfast food.
3. Improves Digestion
Because it is so rich in fiber, a red banana is also a great choice if you have digestive problems like constipation. Fiber helps to improve the function of the entire digestive tract and pushes the food through it more efficiently, reducing your chances of suffering from the pain and discomfort that constipation can bring with it. Regular bowel movements also help to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
4. Treats Heartburn
Constipation is not the only gastric problem that a red banana can help with: it can also help if you have problems with heartburn. Red bananas have an anti-acid affect and can soothe down even a very upset stomach. If used regularly, it can even take care of chronic heartburn once and for all.
5. Improves Vision
Vision is precious, but it is often taken for granted until it is somehow compromised. However, a diet which includes red bananas on a regular basis supports good visual health as it is rich in vitamin A, which the eyes need to function at their best.
6. Good for the Heart
A red banana is also a great choice for a heart-healthy diet. This is because they are rich in potassium, which counteracts the negative effects of sodium and lowers high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks and other forms of heart disease – as well as incidents like strokes.
7. Treats Anemia
Anemia is a serious condition in which the body does not have enough iron to make hemoglobin, the part of the red blood cell which carries oxygen from the lungs to all other parts of the body. Red bananas can help treat anemia because they are rich in the vitamin B-6 which the body needs to build hemoglobin in the first place.
8. Helps Smoking Cessation
Quitting smoking is a great healthy lifestyle choice, but it is also a difficult one on both the body and the mind. However, red bananas can help this process. They are rich in both potassium and magnesium, which helps the body to deal with the effects of nicotine withdrawal and makes it easier to break the cycle of addiction.
9. Aids in Weight Loss
There are several reasons why a red banana is good for weight loss. First, it is low in calories: a single banana is only 90 calories. Because it is incredibly high in fiber, it will give you a feeling of fullness and make it easier to cut down on calories without suffering from hunger pangs.
10. Boosts Metabolism
A red banana can also serve as a great boost for your metabolism. This is because it is a rich source of vitamin B-6, which helps support healthy metabolic function. And if your metabolism is functioning well, this means that it is not only easier to lose weight but also to keep energy levels steady throughout the day.
11. Elevates the Mood
Believe it or not, red bananas can actually help not only your physical health but your emotional health as well. How? The vitamin B-6 is needed by the body to transform tryptophan into serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone that can help with problems like depression.
12. Delicious Flavor, Texture and Aroma
Those who have eaten a red banana often report that they have a taste of raspberries, but that they give off the aroma of strawberries instead. Their flesh is sweet and creamy. These are considered benefits because they make the bananas more attractive and thus easier to incorporate into the diet.
13. Easy to Use in a Variety of Dishes
Apart from all the health benefits listed above, a red banana has the added benefit of being easy to use in a variety of dishes, making it no challenge to add them to your diet.
While a red banana is delicious if eaten fresh, their flavor is even better when baked or sautéed. If you like desserts and sweet dishes, these fruits taste great when paired with berries, apples or citrus fruits like lemons and yogurt. If you prefer savory dishes, it goes well with meats like pork or chicken, black beans, cream and chili peppers.