When Can Bananas Cause Constipation?
Bananas are in somewhat of an unusual situation: Some people claim that they cause constipation, while others swear that they cure it.
The answer is a little more complex. In certain situations, the high amount of fiber in bananas can either cause or alleviate constipation.
The Short Answer
In summary, when do bananas cause constipation?
- When you eat them before they are fully ripe.
- When you eat a lot of bananas without drinking sufficient water.
- When the rest of your diet is filled with processed foods.
So what do you need to do with bananas to prevent constipation?
- Eat them when they are fully ripe.
- Drink your daily recommended eight glasses of water a day, so that the fiber in the bananas will enable healthy bowel movements.
- Eat a healthy diet low in processed foods.
The Long Answer
Bananas can cause bloating and constipation if you eat them before they are fully ripe.
When you eat bananas before they are fully ripe, that is, when they still have a greenish tint, the chemical makeup of the banana is actually different. The starches in the banana have not yet turned into sugars. The high amounts of starch in an unripe banana may cause bloating and constipation.
You must drink sufficient water when you eat bananas to ensure regular bowel movements.
Bananas are high in fiber—a medium-sized banana can contain 3 g of fiber. Although this is only 10 percent of the recommended daily amount for fiber, it is still high compared to most foods.
But isn't fiber supposed to help with bowel movements?
Yes, but only if you drink sufficient water. If you eat ripe bananas and make sure you get enough water, then bananas will actually stimulate bowel movement and cure constipation!
Problems only come when you consume too many bananas and not enough water. Then the fiber in the bananas ends up hardening your stool and blocking your intestines, creating constipation.
Bananas also contain large amount of pectin. Pectin has binding abilities and can bind the stool by pulling out water molecules from the intestinal tract. This leads to rock-hard stools that are hard to pass and cause constipation. So drink enough water!
The constipation might also be caused by the rest of your diet. Toddlers especially need to be sure to eat enough fiber and avoid too many processed foods and sweets.
Many times, your constipation may actually be due to other poor dietary habits, such as lack of wholesome foods, overeating, too many refined, factory-made foods, and too little water.
Toddlers especially tend to have sensitive bowel movements and a lack of dietary discretion. If your toddler is constipated, bananas may help, but be sure that they are ripe and accompanied by plenty of water. Plenty of physical activity can also help regulate a small one's bowel movements.
So what’s the final verdict? Do bananas cause constipation?
In moderation, bananas do not cause constipation. You can safely eat three yellow bananas in the morning without being worried about constipation. If you are unsure about the whole banana paradox, it is best to avoid bananas and eliminate them from your diet for a few days and observe the effect on your bowel movement. Gradually add them back in, accompanied by plenty of water.
Enjoy ripe bananas in moderation, as any food, no matter how healthy, may cause discomfort when consumed in large quantities.
Bananas and Cancer
- Bananas for Cancer: Do Brown Spots on Bananas Fight Cancer?
Several studies carried out in Japan prove that over-ripe bananas contain a potent anti-cancer substance that fights abnormal cancer cells. Bananas for cancer: Do brown spots on bananas fight cancer?
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 31, 2016:
Great hub on bananas can causing constipation. I didn't know that. But I do know they can help you recover from food poisoning too.
Francisco Eguaras on September 17, 2015:
Thanks a lot!!! This really answers my questions.
Tmay on August 31, 2015:
Glad I got my answer to the arrows shooting across the abdomen...could not figure out what was going on and the only thing different was the 2 days of bananas (with no water)...Im not such a good water consumer, but will be from now on..This really hurt!..Thanku for great info..
maheen on May 18, 2015:
M still afraid to give my daughter banana but she keeps asking me for it
Naz on March 15, 2015:
Now i know why i was crapping rocks..
iLuvHotPockets on September 26, 2014:
I actually had major constipation the past couple days...started after eating 4 overripe bananas for breakfast. I usually drink plenty of water too, but it has been very humid lately, so maybe I was a little dehydrated despite my normal water consumption.
It's hard to figure out when there's so much conflicting advice and conflicting anecdotal evidence out there. I wonder if this has been studied in a controlled environment by actual scientists? That would be interesting to read about...
Lisa on May 09, 2014:
Thanks for this article! Very clear and to the the point. I don't think any good should be blamed for causing constipation; it's only if the rest of your dietary habits are lacking (which most of ours are) that problems can arise. I was worried about bananas but now I know to eat them at the right time and drink plenty of water!
healthmunsta (author) on December 04, 2013:
Yes, indeed! Thanks for dropping by, Turtlewoman!
Kim Lam from California on December 04, 2013:
Good article! The riper the banana, the higher nutrient content too. :-)
healthmunsta (author) on October 04, 2013:
Thanks, everyone for your input!
Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 03, 2013:
I see that it is very important to consume water when eating bananas. That's so good to know. Thanks!
Megan on September 01, 2013:
Oh ma lord. I used to luv bananas when I was a kid but now, lord, I suffer from heart burns and constipation.
Rodney on July 24, 2013:
Learn my lesson about bananas recently.. had me bloated for days
healthmunsta (author) on June 18, 2013:
Thank you very much, KenWu!
KenWu from Malaysia on February 28, 2013:
Very helpful information. Never know that banana can cause constipation. Now I know why and how to consume them rightly!