Bananas grow in more than 100 countries and are a major food crop throughout the tropical world, where they are cultivated in many sizes and colors, including red, yellow, purple, and green. Only 10 to 15 percent of the bananas grown are for export.
In the United States, the vast majority of supermarket bananas are the Cavendish variety, a sweet, seedless, yellow “dessert” banana—one eaten without cooking.
Plantains, which have become more readily available in recent years, are banana varieties intended for cooking, and they tend to be less sweet and more starchy.
Because our fruit-stand bananas are so sweet, they’ve gotten a bad reputation among the low-carb crowd. But they are an incredibly rich source of potassium, vital for regulating blood pressure and a factor in preventing heart disease, stroke, and muscle cramps. One medium banana provides more potassium by weight than practically any other fruit.
Most of us can afford the 15 grams of carbohydrate found in half a banana in exchange for its nutrient benefits, given that Americans typically get only about half the recommended daily intake of potassium.Nutritional Facts
One medium raw banana provides 105 calories, 26.7 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 92 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 22 mcg folic acid, 451 mg potassium, 7 mg calcium, 23 mg phosphorus, and 33 mg magnesium.