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Apple vs Banana - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Apple
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Banana

Introduction

Apples have originated in central Asia, and from there it has spread throughout the whole word. There are 7500 types of apples, different apples are cultivated for different purposes. Apples can be used for cooking, consuming raw, making compote, apple cider vinegar, and the apple cider alcoholic beverage. The most famous type of apple is the “red delicious” which is full flavored and sweet, it is usually consumed as a fruit. The “granny smith” apple is a tart tasted apple that has various usages, such as making cider, but also can be eaten as a fruit.

Bananas on the other hand are considered as one of the most harvested fruits worldwide.

Indigenous to India and Southeast Asia, however nowadays it is cultivated all over the world. Compared to apples it has a shorter shelf life, approximately 5 days and after that it will start to overripe.

Bananas can be used in various ways, they can be consumed raw, made into smoothies, and even used as an ingredient for baking.

Bananas that are cultivated today are different from the wild type bananas. Wild bananas were much smaller in size and contained seeds in them. In the early centuries the wild type bananas were modified and made into the current day domesticated bananas.

In this article, we will be comparing the nutritional content of apples and bananas, the vitamin and mineral content, health impacts, and the variety of uses. 

Nutritional content comparison

Apples and bananas are considered as low glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of apples is 38 and for bananas the glycemic index is 51, thus making the glycemic index of apples lower than that of bananas.

Calories

Apples have 41 calories per 100g and bananas have 59 calories per 100g, both can be considered as low caloric foods.

Carbohydrates

Apples contain 13.81g of carbohydrates which are distributed among sugars, carbohydrate vitamins, and dietary fibers. While on the other hand, bananas contain 23g of carbohydrates that are distributed among sugars, dietary fibers, and vitamins. However, an interesting aspect is the direct correlation between the ripening of the banana and the amounts of sugar and dietary fibers it contains. Unripe bananas, similar to ripe, contain 23g of carbohydrates but the dietary fiber and sugars distribution is different. In unripe bananas the carbohydrates are starch that are resistant to absorption, also known as resistant starch,  thus act as dietary fibers. On the other hand, ripe bananas have transformed these starch into sugars, making the sugar amounts higher in ripe bananas. 

Dietary fibers

Apples and bananas have similar amounts of dietary fibers, for apples the fiber content is 2.4g while for bananas the fiber content is 2.6g. However, as previously mentioned the fiber distribution in bananas contain different amounts of dietary fibers as the ripening level differs. 

Sugars

Apples have lower amounts of sugar compared to bananas, as apples contain10.4g of sugars whereas bananas contain 12.2g of sugars. As previously mentioned as the ripening of the banana progresses, the amount of sugar increases.

Protein 

Bananas have higher amounts of proteins compared to apples, since bananas contain 1.09g of proteins and apples contain 0.26g. These amounts are negligible relative to the daily recommended values which is 56g by average for a sedentary person. 

Fat

The content of fat for both fruits is negligible

Vitamin content comparison

The main vitamin composition of bananas per 100g is as following:

  • Vitamin C: 8.7mg 
  • Vitamin B6: 0.367mg 
  • Vitamin A: 64IU
  • Folate: 20mcg

The main vitamin composition of apples per 100g is as following:

  • Vitamin C: 4.6mg
  • Vitamin K: 2.2mcg
  • Vitamin A:  54IU 

As observed in the above, bananas contain higher amounts of vitamin C and A which are common between both of them. Additionally, bananas contain vitamin B6 and folate. On the other hand, apples are richer in vitamin K.

Mineral content comparison

Apples don't have a remarkable mineral profile, all the minerals present in it are at trace levels.

On the other hand, bananas are rich in potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

Potassium

The daily recommended value of potassium is between 3500mg and 4700mg per day. 100g of bananas contain 360mg of potassium on average, making it one of the top foods containing potassium. On the other hand, apples contain 107mg of potassium per 100g. Relative to the daily recommended value this amount is negligible.

Health impacts

Apple consumption has been related to a lowering risk of mortality due to cancer, while bananas are related to lowering mortality rates due cardio-vascular diseases. (1)  

Apples have multiple protective roles which are: (2) (3) 

  • Anti-cancer, highly protective against breast, colorectal, and lung cancer (among others).
  • Anti-obesity and anti-diabetic; consumption of apples reduces the risk of developing diabetes and obesity
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Increased cognitive performance in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Increased ventilatory performance in patients diagnosed with asthma and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease.

Bananas have antidiabetic properties. An enzyme present in the digestive system breaks down big chain molecules of sugars into smaller sugar molecules in order to absorb them. Bananas contain enzymes that prevent this from happening thus reducing the amount of absorbed sugars from the digestive tract, keeping the sugar levels in check. (4)

Lectins are active proteins in bananas that act on cancer cells and suppress cancer cell proliferation (multiplication). This in turn reduces cancer propagation and metastasis. (5) 

Weight loss

Apples are considered as an important food during weight loss and diets, this is due to the fact that apples have a low energy level and are rich in dietary fibers, which helps maintain a negative caloric balance and results in weight loss. (3)

A reduction of body weight was also observed, mostly in patients with diabetes, while consuming bananas and specifically bananas that are on the unripe spectrum of bananas. This is due mostly on feeling full on resistant starch. (6) 

Drug interaction

It is recommended to reduce the consumption of apples, mostly apple juice while taking anticoagulant drugs specifically, warfarin. Due to the interaction of warfarin and the flavonoids of apples. (7) 

In the case of bananas, it is recommended to avoid them while taking MAOI drugs (Generic names of MAOI drugs; Emsam, Marplan, Nardil, Parnate), which are a certain type of antidepressants. The side effect of the interaction of MAOI drugs and bananas can cause hypertensive crises in some patients. (8)

Variations

Apples are also consumed as apple juice, however, the sugar concentration of apple juice with the cutting down of some dietary fibers does not put apple juice on the same level of health advantages as raw apples. As the peel and pulp of apples are thrown away while making apple juice, most nutritive values are lost due to this processing. 

On the other hand, bananas are also consumed as smoothies which are usually mixed with various other ingredients that could be milk, sugar or other fruits. This causes a change in the macronutrient and micronutrient profile of bananas.

Breakfast

Apples are highly recommended to be consumed in the morning with breakfast, as it offers a balanced nutritive profile that provides dietary fibers.

While bananas are not recommended to be consumed at breakfast, since it is usually higher in sugars compared to apples, as it offers an energy boost initially, but is followed by a crash period after a couple of hours is usually expected.
In some individuals who suffer from acid reflux, consuming a banana on an empty stomach for breakfast usually worsens the symptoms of the reflux. 

Summary

In summary, apples have a lower glycemic index and are lower in calories, carbohydrates and total sugars and richer in vitamin K. On the other hand, bananas are richer in potassium, magnesium, manganese, vitamins C, B6, A and folate. They have similar amounts of dietary fibers.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26787402/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5225682/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24752944/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6272006/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898027/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777580/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3191675/

Infographic

Apple vs Banana infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Apple
1
:
6
Banana
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains more Iron +116.7%
Contains more Potassium +234.6%
Contains more Magnesium +440%
Contains more Copper +188.9%
Contains more Zinc +275%
Contains more Phosphorus +100%
Equal in Sodium - 1
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains more Iron +116.7%
Contains more Potassium +234.6%
Contains more Magnesium +440%
Contains more Copper +188.9%
Contains more Zinc +275%
Contains more Phosphorus +100%
Equal in Sodium - 1

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Apple
2
:
8
Banana
Contains more Vitamin E +80%
Contains more Vitamin K +340%
Contains more Vitamin C +89.1%
Contains more Vitamin A +18.5%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +82.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +180.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +630.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +447.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +795.1%
Contains more Folate, total +566.7%
Contains more Vitamin E +80%
Contains more Vitamin K +340%
Contains more Vitamin C +89.1%
Contains more Vitamin A +18.5%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +82.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +180.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +630.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +447.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +795.1%
Contains more Folate, total +566.7%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
4
Apple
12
Banana
Mineral Summary Score
3
Apple
10
Banana

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Protein
2%
Apple
7%
Banana
Carbohydrates
14%
Apple
23%
Banana
Fats
1%
Apple
2%
Banana

Comparison summary table

Pay attention at the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Apple Banana
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugars ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in Sodium Equal

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Apple Banana
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Banana
Banana is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is cheaper?
Banana
Banana is cheaper (difference - $0.3)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Banana
Banana is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Sugars?
Apple
Apple contains less Sugars (difference - 1.84g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Apple
Apple is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.084g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Apple
Apple is lower in glycemic index (difference - 16)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food contains less Sodium?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sodium (1 mg)

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Apple Banana Opinion
Calories 52 89 Banana
Protein 0.26 1.09 Banana
Fats 0.17 0.33 Banana
Vitamin C 4.6 8.7 Banana
Carbs 13.81 22.84 Banana
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.12 0.26 Banana
Calcium 6 5 Apple
Potassium 107 358 Banana
Magnesium 5 27 Banana
Sugars 10.39 12.23 Banana
Fiber 2.4 2.6 Banana
Copper 0.027 0.078 Banana
Zinc 0.04 0.15 Banana
Starch 0.05 5.38 Banana
Phosphorus 11 22 Banana
Sodium 1 1
Vitamin A 54 64 Banana
Vitamin E 0.18 0.1 Apple
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.017 0.031 Banana
Vitamin B2 0.026 0.073 Banana
Vitamin B3 0.091 0.665 Banana
Vitamin B5 0.061 0.334 Banana
Vitamin B6 0.041 0.367 Banana
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 2.2 0.5 Apple
Folate, total 3 20 Banana
Folic acid (B9) 0 0
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.028 0.112 Apple
Monounsaturated Fat 0.007 0.032 Banana
Polyunsaturated fat 0.051 0.073 Banana
Tryptophan 0.001 0.009 Banana
Threonine 0.006 0.028 Banana
Isoleucine 0.006 0.028 Banana
Leucine 0.013 0.068 Banana
Lysine 0.012 0.05 Banana
Methionine 0.001 0.008 Banana
Phenylalanine 0.006 0.049 Banana
Valine 0.012 0.047 Banana
Histidine 0.005 0.077 Banana
Fructose 5.9 4.85 Apple
The main source of information is USDA Food Composition Database (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is used as the primary source for advice in this web resource
Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.