Is There Soluble Fiber in Bananas?

The amount of fiber in bananas may surprise you, and considering that dietary fiber is one of the most important components of a healthy diet, increasing your banana intake may be a good idea.

Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

Before we can delve into the fiber in bananas, it is important to understand the difference between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. A healthy diet should be composed of foods that contain both insoluble and soluble fibers.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is able to absorb water and swell up, forming a soft, gel substance in the body, and slowing the digestive process. This is particularly important for those who are watching their blood sugar.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber does not absorb water, and can, therefore, speed up the digestive process, helping to stimulate peristaltic motion and regulate bowel movements.

Content of Fiber in Bananas

In a medium-sized banana, there are just over 3 grams of dietary fiber, only 1 gram of which comes from soluble fiber and the rest of it from insoluble fiber. Given that a normal diet should have a balance of insoluble and soluble fiber, bananas are considered a good source of fiber. Representing only 12.5% of our daily requirement for fiber, however, bananas are not recognized as a rich source of this key nutrient. There are many other foods – including other fruits and vegetables – that are better sources of dietary fiber than bananas. Some of the best examples are mangos, persimmons, guavas, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

If you want to use bananas to boost your fiber intake, look for bananas that are riper. As a banana ripens, the resistant starch is converted into soluble pectin, which is easy for the body to digest. An unripe banana will provide less usable fiber for your body.

Why is Fiber Good?

Fiber is a critical part of our diet, as it affects many different areas of health, including cardiovascular strength, diabetes, blood pressure, and digestion, among others.

Heart Health

The soluble fiber in bananas can help to balance cholesterol levels, as fiber can scrape excess cholesterol and remove it from the cardiovascular system before it can be oxidized.

Digestion

As mentioned earlier, dietary fiber is needed to stimulate peristaltic motion, which pushes bowel movements through your body. Fiber can also cut down on symptoms of bloating, cramping, constipation and diarrhea, depending on which type of fiber you favor within your diet.

Diabetes

One of the often overlooked benefits of dietary fiber in the diet is the impact that it can have on blood sugar levels. Dietary fiber can regulate the release of insulin and glucose, which is important for diabetic patients and those who are at high risk for developing this disorder.

What do you think? |
1 comment in this article's discussion
by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Banana's resistant starch ripens into sugar, not pectin. Bananas do contain a minor amount of pectin, but the resistant starch in green or under-ripe bananas is far more important than the tiny amount of pectin. Resistant starch is insoluble, but feeds the beneficial bacteria, improving health, digestion and metabolism. There are 3 types of dietary fibers - bulking fibers like cellulose provide bulk and absorb a lot of water. They are great for constipation but do not feed the intestinal bacteria so they cannot possibly create the metabolism benefits. Viscous fibers like pectin and beta-glucan thicken the contents of the intestinal tract but some are minimally fermented. Resistant starch and inulin/FOS are the two best known fermentable fibers. Truly green bananas are ALL resistant starch, but by the time they reach your grocery store, they're only about 15% resistant starch. By the time they ripen and are yellow with brown spots, only 1-3% of the resistant starch remains. The rest is sugar - sweet, high glycemic sugar.