Apple vs Banana - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
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.
Apples have 41 calories per 100g and bananas have 59 calories per 100g, both can be considered as low caloric foods.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugars|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Lower in Sodium||Equal|
Which food is preferable in case of diets?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|
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All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Folic acid (B9)||0||0|