Banana Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  9 min read
banana benefits and side effects

Health

Banana health benefits may include:

Bananas are…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 790 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of bananas / 95 gallons of water to produce 1 pounds of bananas

Carbon footprint: low, 1.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh bananas, a car driving equivalent of 3.25 miles or 5.25 kilometers

Destruction: moderate-high, bananas must grow in warm, tropical climates, the world’s primary banana exporters are Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala meaning bananas travel long distances to retail commercially, bananas use more agrochemicals per hectare than any other crop in the world, banana plantations involve monocropping, causing soil structure and quality to be so poor farmers must use chemical fertilizers to encourage plant growth and fruit production, pesticides and fertilizers contaminate ground water and become airborne, creating pollution, monocropping is not an issue if the product is organic

Bananas are…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

Animals

Kills: none, banana production does not require any animals

Harms: none, banana production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: fish and coral reefs, banana waste sometimes go into streams, while decomposing discards deplete the water of oxygen, which threatens fish and microorganisms, Caribbean banana plantation runoff causes damage to estuaries and coral reefs, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Bananas are…

Laborers

Health and safety: hazardous, exposure to toxic pesticides, toxic fungicides are sprayed from airplanes flying overhead, after being exposed to chemicals, they experience ”headaches, fever, dizziness, red eyes, stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, trembling and shaking, itching, burning nostrils, fatigue, and aching bones”, must use sharp knives and machetes, must haul heavy loads of bananas, drink unsanitary water, sexual harassment

Living conditions: poor, in Ecuador (the world’s largest banana exporter) children as young as eight work on banana plantations where a typical workday lasts twelve hours, approximately 1% of banana workers are associated with workers’ rights organizations, anti-union discrimination when hiring, lack adequate access to and bathrooms

Wages: low, children earn an average of $3.50 per day in Ecuador, approximately 60% of the legal minimum wage for banana workers, it is estimated plantation workers receive a mere 1-3% of a banana’s retail value

Bananas have…

Where do most bananas grow?

India, Ecuador, China, Indonesia and Brazil are the largest producers of bananas in the world. The world’s top banana exporting country is Ecuador, followed by Costa Rica, Guatemala, Philippines, Columbia, USA, Mexico, Germany, Honduras and Dominican Republic.

Are bananas nutritious?

Yes! Bananas are high in fiber, potassium, magnesium.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

bananas are alkaline when ripe, acidic when green.

Are bananas alkaline or acidic? Bananas are alkaline when ripe and acidic when raw. What is the pH level of bananas? Bananas have an 8.0 pH level when ripe, once digested and a 6.5 pH level when green, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

bananas are gluten free.

Are bananas gluten free? Yes, bananas are gluten free. Bananas do not contain gluten. Bananas are a type of fruit, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

bananas are not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are bananas a common food allergen? No, bananas are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to bananas but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

bananas have a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do bananas have a high or low water footprint? Bananas have a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of bananas? It takes 790 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of bananas / 95 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of bananas.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

bananas have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do bananas have a high or low carbon footprint? Bananas have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of bananas? It takes around 1.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of bananas, a car driving equivalent of 3.25 miles or 5.25 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors are…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

bananas are moderately sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are bananas eco friendly and sustainable?

Banana production is moderately sustainable. Banana crops must grow in warm, tropical climates and the world’s primary exporters of bananas are Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Bananas tend to travel long distances and use more agrochemicals per hectare than any other crop in the world!

Additionally, banana plantations often involve monocropping, which causes the soil structure and quality to be so poor that farmers must use chemical fertilizers to encourage plant growth and fruit production. Pesticides and fertilizers contaminate ground water and become airborne, creating pollution. Monocropping is not an issue if the product is organic.

Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

bananas are vegan but may negatively impact wildlife.

seafood and fish is not vegan

Are bananas vegan? Yes, bananas are vegan. Bananas are a fruit and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, bananas may negatively impact wildlife…

Banana waste is sometimes goes into streams. While decomposing, the waste depletes the water of oxygen, which threatens fish and microorganisms. Caribbean banana plantation runoff causes damage to estuaries and coral reefs. Be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

bananas have labor issues and human rights concerns.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Do bananas have with laborer issues? At this time there are many major concerns involving banana production! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can face harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks.

Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Conclusion

Banana pros include:

Banana cons include:

Sources:

Harvard, The Nutrition Source, Bananas

Bananas, raw – FoodData Central – USDA

Human Rights Watch: Ecuador: Widespread Labor Abuse on Banana Plantations

Food Empowerment Project: PEELING BACK THE TRUTH ON BANANAS

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Foodprint: Labor and Workers in the Food System

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.