Banana is one of the most relished and healthiest fruits on the planet. There are more than 1000 different varieties of bananas available around the world, while in India, only 20 varieties are predominantly cultivated and one such variety that is quite popular is the red banana. The Dacca banana or the red bananas are very soft and sweeter than the regular ones and alkaline in nature. Red bananas taste like regular bananas with a tinge of raspberry sweetness.
Red bananas are characterized by their distinct colour, which ranges from purple to brown, depending on the ripeness. They are available all-round the year, it is affordable, nutritious, tasty and has potent medicinal properties, which makes it one of the most demanding fruit. It comes with a chock full of essential nutrients and may benefit you to boost energy instantly, trigger the immune system, uplift cardiac health, and improve digestion.
Red Banana Plant
Red banana (Musa acuminate) is officially known as Red Dacca that belongs to a subgroup of bananas from southeast Asia. It has reddish-purple skin, few bananas are smaller and plumper than the regular Cavendish banana, while others are much larger. This energy-dense fruit is largely exported by producers in East Africa, Asia, South America, and the United Arab Emirates. They are the favourite fruit in Central America as a potent aphrodisiac, while in India this type of banana is a symbol of fertility.
The red banana plant is tall and robust stature, the colour of the fruit, pseudostem, petiole and midrib are purplish red. Each bunch weighs about 20-25 kg with 6-7 hands and 80 fruits/ bunch. The length of the fruit is about 16-18 cm. It is the most favourite and highly valued fruit variety in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is also widely cultivated in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and some parts of Western and Central India. It grows in a subtropical climate with bright sunlight, good moisture, and protection from wind. Red bananas ripen in a few days post-harvest at room temperature and have a longer shelf-life than yellow ones.
Red bananas are called by many vernacular names in the regional languages of India, as "Lal Kela" in Hindi, "Sevvazhai" in Tamil, "Chenkadali" in Malayalam, "Raktakadali" in Sanskrit, "Chandrabale" in Kannada and "Yerra Chekkarakeli" in Telugu. They are consumed in the same way as yellow bananas. It is also used to make delicious desserts and fruit salads, but can also be baked, fried, and toasted. Raw red bananas are dried and sold in stores.
Red Banana Nutrition
According to the data provided by the U.S.D.A (United States Department Of Agriculture), the nutrition content present in 100g serving of medium red banana is:
Calories: 90 calories
Carbs: 21 grams
Protein: 1.3 grams
Fat: 0.3 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin B6: 0.3mcg
Vitamin C: 8.7mg
Vitamin B1: 0.031mcg
Vitamin B2: 0.073 mcg
Red banana is intrinsically rich in healthy carbs such as sucrose and fructose, which supplies an instant source of energy that is steadily released into the bloodstream. Packed with essential minerals like potassium, magnesium and phosphorus helps in maintaining electrolyte balance. Red bananas contain more beta carotene and vitamin C than yellow ones that support building a robust immune system. Aside from these, it is also imbued with potent antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which works well in optimising overall physical and mental well-being.
Health Benefits of Red Banana
Promotes Weight Loss
Red banana is a good source of dietary fibre and essential nutrients that serves as a healthy addition to the weight watcher’s diet regimen. Being relatively low in fat and calories keeps you satiated for a longer time, prevents binge eating and curbs hunger pangs. Apart from this, the goodness of fibre improve gut bacteria, lowers inflammation, and reduces the risk of obesity and other related health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Boost Energy Levels
Ample sources of natural sugars in red bananas including fructose, sucrose and glucose offer you an instant source of energy and kick start your metabolism. These sugars are broken down steadily delivering slow and sustained energy throughout the day to carry out your regular activities. This makes red bananas a perfect breakfast food.
Controls Blood Pressure
Potassium is a vital mineral for heart health due to its key role in regulating blood pressure. Red bananas laden with potassium and magnesium dilates the blood vessels, improve the blood flow through the system and helps in reducing blood pressure and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Red banana with a low GI of 10 and packed with dietary fibre is beneficial in reducing sudden spikes of blood sugar levels. It also impedes the activity of alpha-amylase and glucosidase enzymes that are involved in glucose synthesis and maintain blood sugar in diabetic patients. Furthermore, owing to its ease of digestibility and rich fibre content, red banana serves as a healthy and nutritious snack for diabetics.
Supports Good VisionRed bananas are packed with carotenoids pigments , which render the fruits their reddish colour. Lutein and beta carotenoids loaded in red bananas may support to prevent age-related macular degeneration, night blindness and improve eye health and vision.
Also Read: 5 Food Sources Plentiful In Lutein That Promotes Overall Health - Infographic
Storehouse of Antioxidants
Red bananas are bestowed with powerful antioxidants than yellow ones. The antioxidants prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals and lower the risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Some of the key antioxidants present in red bananas include carotenoids, anthocyanins, dopamine, and vitamin C.
Bolsters Immune System
Red banana, being a great source of vitamins C and B6 are essential for building a robust immune system. Vitamin B6 in red bananas holds a significant role in supporting immunity by increasing the production of white blood cells and immune antibodies, which has the potential to combat off pathogens.
Augments Digestive Health
Red banana is best known to support the digestive system in several ways. Laden with prebiotics, red banana helps to feed beneficial gut bacteria. Fructooligosaccharides and insulin are prebiotic fibre present in red bananas that helps in reducing bloating, constipation and increase the diversity of the gut microbiome. Aside from this, one serving of red banana offers 3 grams of fibre that aids to regularise bowel movements, lessen inflammation, stimulate the growth of good bacteria and lowers the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease.
Red bananas can not only help you enhance physical health but your emotional well-being as well. Imbued with vitamin B6 helps the body to convert tryptophan into serotonin the feel-good hormone that helps to improve mental health and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.
Purifies The Blood
Immensely rich in vitamins and antioxidants red bananas improve the haemoglobin level and pumps iron stores. Aside from this, the essence of vitamin B6 assists in the breakdown of proteins and the formation of red blood cells. Including red bananas in the diet regimen helps to treat anaemia and boost stamina and energy levels.
Red Bananas For Fertility
Red bananas are greatly prized as a potent aphrodisiac food that may help improve reproductive health and fertility. Adding red bananas to the diet is known to balance reproductive hormone levels in women. Being a good source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, it helps to promote fertility and libido. Furthermore, rich in zinc, which is a key mineral associated with male fertility regulates testosterone levels, improve prostate health and boost energy levels in men.
Red Bananas For Babies
Red bananas serve as a great weaning food for babies as they are easy to digest, soft, mushy, and loaded with a chock full of essential nutrients. While it can also be easily blended with other cereals and food, which enhance the taste of the weaning food owing to its natural sugars. It can be mashed up and just served as a complete meal.
The comprehensive nutritional profile in red bananas makes them a perfect food for meeting the increasing nutritional demands of growing children. Endowed with healthy carbs, starches, and fibre red banana promotes healthy weight gain in young children, and support in attaining developmental milestones.
Red Bananas For Skin And Hair Health
Red bananas are a powerhouse of antioxidants including beta carotenoids, vitamin C and A that help slows down premature ageing and fades away wrinkles and fine lines. While the goodness of vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen, which is a key component of skin and hair health. Collagen prevents the skin from sagging, makes it firmer, toned, plump and youthful. Besides these, red bananas are also beneficial in strengthening and conditioning the hair. The hair nourishing properties of red bananas maintain the elasticity of hair and avert hair breakage. It also helps to relieve problems like dandruff, hair fall and dry hair.
Skin Glowing Mask
A medium, ripe red banana
1 tbsp honey
In a bowl mash the banana well and add honey to make a fine paste.
Apply this mixture all over the face evenly, let it stay for 20 minutes.
Wash the face with lukewarm water, repeat this thrice in a week for best results.
Hair Conditioning Mask
A medium, ripe red banana
½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond oil
1 tbsp yoghurt
In a bowl blend all the ingredients together to form a thick paste.
Smear to the hair, from root to tip, let it stay for 15 minutes
Wash well with cold water, repeat this twice a week for a lustrous and bouncy mane.
How To Eat Red Bananas?
Red bananas are best eaten when ripe, the same way you have a regular banana, after peeling them. They can also be incorporated into breakfast cereals, oatmeal, desserts like fruit salads, smoothies, pancakes, ice creams and pudding. Baked delights like banana bread, cakes, and muffins also taste well. Raw red bananas can be also made as savoury snacks or dry gravies.
Red Banana Recipes
Banana Paniyaram/ Balehannu Mulka Or Appam
Red banana paniyaram is a popular snack all over the season made with ripe bananas. These sweet appams are very easy to make and taste delicious.
2 ripe red bananas
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup jaggery
¼ cup grated coconut
1 tsp cardamom powder
A pinch of baking soda
A pinch of salt
Water as required
Oil for frying
In a bowl take red bananas and mash well until smooth puree.
Add all the ingredients to the banana puree and mix well to a thick batter.
Heat oil in a pan, drop a small spoonful of batter in and fry in a medium flame till golden brown.
Drain appam on the kitchen towel to absorb oil.
Serve red banana appam with a cup of tea.
Red bananas are laden with a wealth of essential nutrients including potassium, fibre, vitaminsB6, C and antioxidants that are well-known to regulate blood pressure, improve heart health and digestion and serves as an instant energy booster. Wheat flour is a good source of complex carbs and fibre provides you with needed energy. Ample amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium in jaggery aids to pump the iron stores and detoxes the liver. Coconut is a source of healthy monosaturated fatty acids that supports digestion, improves skin and hair health. While cardamom adds taste and assists in the smooth digestion process.
Raw Red Banana Masala
Raw banana masala curry is a tasty accompaniment that goes well with plain rice or chapati.
2 raw red bananas
1 cup finely chopped, onions
1/2 cup chopped, tomatoes
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp jeera
1 pinch hing
1 green chilli
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp oil
Salt as required
1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
Peel and wash bananas cut them into a cube and steam them for 10 minutes until just cooked.
In a pan heat, oil splutter mustard and jeera seeds.
Add curry leaves, onions, green chilli and hing, sauté until onion turns translucent and add ginger, garlic paste and fry until raw smell goes off.
Add turmeric, salt and all masala powders, stir for 3 minutes.
Add little water and cook until the mixture turns to a thick gravy.
Now add the steamed banana and stir well.
Cook for 5 minutes on a low flame until masala becomes dry.
Garnish with coriander leaves and switch off the flame
Serve raw banana masala with hot rice or roti.
Raw red bananas are a storehouse of vitamin A, besides carotenoid antioxidants – lutein, zeaxanthin, which enhance eyesight for healthy vision. Packed with lycopene, tomatoes effectively lower the risk of cancer, while onions abound in dietary fibres to uplift digestion and gut health.
In most healthy people, red banana does not show any harmful side effects. In very rare cases intake of too much red banana may result in digestive problems like bloating, flatulence, cramping, nausea and vomiting in some people with gastrointestinal disorders. Sometimes, very high doses of red bananas may elevate blood potassium levels.