Banana is an important fruit consumed globally and cultivated in humid and subtropical climes. The fruit comprises nutrients in its pulp and peel with beneficial properties. Banana in its unripe form, consists of indigestible compounds, resistant starch and dietary fibres. The starchy fruit degrades to fructose and sucrose when ripe, thus reducing its starch content. Aside its carbohydrate profile, essential macro and micro minerals, vitamins and phenolic compounds are other nutrients present in pulp and peel of the fruit. Resistant starch, an indigestible compound available in banana fruit, escapes absorption in the small intestine and is transported to the large intestine where digestion takes place. This occurrence makes banana a preferred fruit for consumers suffering from diabetes. Polyphenols, present in minute concentration in the fruit, functions as antioxidants, thus contributing immensely to the prevention of metabolic degenerative diseases. This chapter further examines available nutrients present in banana fruit, their absorption and utilisation in the body. The chapter also brings to the fore, the health benefits of consumption of ripe, unripe and processed banana products.
Part of the book: Banana Nutrition