A banana isn't just a convenient snack, it's also a source of protein. How much protein is in a banana depends on its size, so if you're tracking nutrition information for your diet, pay attention to the size of the banana you're eating. The protein content can vary from less than one gram to almost two grams.
Most adults need between 46 and 56 grams of protein daily, and a banana can contribute to your daily protein needs. This fruit offers more than just protein as well. When you consider some of the other nutritional information about this fruit, it's easy to see why it's a good food choice for many people.
Protein in a Banana by Size
The average banana offers 1.29 grams of protein, as measured by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA categorizes bananas by standard sizes, and the following chart shows the average protein content for each size.
|Extra small||5 inches long or less||0.88 grams|
|Small||5 - 7 inches long||1.10 grams|
|Medium||7 - 8 inches long||1.29 grams|
|Large||8 - 9 inches long||1.48 grams|
|Extra large||9 inches or longer||1.66 grams|
Additionally, the USDA states there are 2.45 grams of protein in a cup of mashed bananas and 1.64 grams of protein in a cup of sliced bananas. Banana chips, which contain more carbohydrates than fresh bananas, offer 2.3 grams of protein per 100-gram serving.
More Banana Nutritional Data
One medium-sized green or yellow banana contains about 89 calories and has approximately:
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 grams
- Sodium: 1 milligram
- Total carbohydrates: 22.28 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2.6 grams
- Sugar: 12.2 grams
Bananas also contain vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin A: 2% of the daily allowance
- Calcium: 1% of the daily allowance
- Iron: 2% of the daily allowance
Note that the bananas you purchase at the grocery store are generally large, rather than medium-sized, based on the USDA guidelines.
Banana Protein vs. Other Fruits
Although you might not immediately consider fruit as a good source of protein, fruits do have their place among the USDA's list of protein-rich foods. Using 100 grams as a measure of the amount of fruit, bananas have 1.1 grams. The fruits that are higher in protein than a banana are as follows:
- Guavas with 2.55 grams of protein per 100 grams
- Avocados with 1.96 grams of protein per 100 grams
- Apricots with 1.4 grams of protein per 100 grams
- Blackberries with 1.39 grams of protein per 100 grams
- Raspberries with 1.2 grams
In comparison, fruits with the lowest protein are blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and apples.
Potential Health Benefits of Bananas
Like most fruits and vegetables, bananas are an excellent nutritional choice you can eat every day. In addition to providing protein, potassium, and vitamin C, bananas may be beneficial for several health conditions:
- Physicians sometimes recommend eating bananas to patients who need to lower high blood pressure, since the fruit is high in potassium. However, it's important to consider other dietary concerns because bananas are also high in carbohydrates. Eating bananas can be a risk for people with kidney disease or who take beta blockers due to their high potassium content.
- Bananas are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, according to the USDA. Adequate fiber intake may be associated with reduced risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer.
- Athletes, in particular, may enjoy bananas for the boost they provide prior to working out. One 2012 research study found they were a better source of energy than the typical energy drink.
How to Add Bananas to Your Diet
While a fresh banana makes a great snack, this isn't the only way to add bananas to your diet. Try one of the following:
- Add sliced bananas to breakfast cereal.
- Consider banana chips if you need a portable snack.
- Freeze bananas for a refreshing summer treat.
- Make a banana dessert for your next special occasion.
- Try out a baked banana recipe for an interesting dessert option.
- Toss a banana in your smoothie for a great taste and texture, plus added protein.
Bananas are not only easy to add to your diet, but they are creamy, sweet, and delicious, as well. So, the next time you need a quick snack, grab a banana. It's a delicious, healthy snack which vegetarians, vegans, raw food diet followers, and even omnivores can enjoy. Because of the protein in a banana, it's also a snack that may stick with you for longer lasting energy and some potential health benefits.