Densely packed with nutrients, bananas are one of the healthiest on-the-go snacks we can think of. We can absolutely rely on these versatile fruits any time of the day, either enjoying them as it is or by preparing delicious desserts such as Vegan Banana Cream Pie, Vegan Banana Coconut Waffles, Vegan Banana Pancakes etc. But, are bananas vegan and gluten-free? Let us explore!
With a growing concern about the various aspects that make a food purely vegan, it is hard to rely upon bananas you buy from the market. Even the simple plant-based foods can be unsuitable for vegans when the production process uses animal derivatives. So is the case with bananas.
Hence, we will analyze the production process of bananas to find out which ones are safe for vegans. In addition, we will also check whether bananas contain gluten as it might help those following a gluten-free diet. So, without any further delay, let’s begin with the health benefits of healthy bananas.
Bananas – Vegan and Gluten-Free?
About Bananas and its Health Benefits – Banana is a tropical fruit botanically classified as a berry. It has an elongated shape and an incredibly sweet taste. There are almost 1000 different types of bananas and each one has a unique color and flavor. In fact, bananas are one of the most popular staple foods in the world.
There are numerous health benefits of bananas. Manganese and Potassium in bananas are good for your skin and heart. Bananas can aid your digestion. Pectin in bananas is a source of fiber, which removes toxins like mercury from your body and works as a natural detox. Also, bananas, containing serotonin that help to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety.
Are Bananas Vegan?
Yes, Bananas are vegan as they are organically planted with no animal-derived pesticides or preservatives used. However, scientists have discovered a spray-on pesticide to extend the shelf life of bananas. It is an aerogel named chitosan, which is sprayed on green bananas to keep them fresh for long.
Vegans know how harmful animal-derived products are. The chitosan aerogel is an ingredient obtained from crab shells. When the aerogel is sprayed on the soil, it is usually absorbed into the banana. Hence, specifically the bananas grown with this pesticide applied are not vegan-friendly ones.
Are Bananas Gluten-Free?
Yes, bananas are fruits and gluten is not present in fresh, whole fruits. The only fruits containing gluten are the canned fruits and juices, where preservatives are added. So, the next time someone asks you, do bananas have gluten? The answer will be no.
Whether you are gluten intolerant or on a special gluten-free diet, you can freely enjoy bananas. Foods that contain gluten are mostly starches and grains like barley, wheat, and rye. Gluten is basically a family of protein, not a healthy one. It can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine, known as celiac disease.
Are Banana Chips Gluten-Free?
You can always check the ingredient list to make sure whether a food is gluten-free or not. Banana chips usually include very simple ingredients like bananas, oil, sugar, and flavor. They might use Olive Oil or Canola Oil in the making process both of which are Vegan as mentioned in our articles “Is Olive Oil Vegan?” & “Is Canola Oil Vegan?”. Since bananas are gluten-free, so are the chips. The only controversial ingredient, in this case, is the flavor. Depending upon the flavor a brand uses, the product can either be gluten-free or not.
If the brand produces other snacks containing gluten in the same machines, there can be chances of cross-contamination. Hence, for the gluten-intolerant individuals, opting for a product mentioned as gluten-free is the best option. If you are on a vegan gluten-free diet, you can opt for the products mentioned as gluten-free and vegan banana chips.
What Are Bananas Made Of?
Bananas are vegan and gluten-free. But what are they made of? Which ingredients make them super-rich in nutrients? Let’s quickly check.
According to the USDA, you get approximately 90 calories from a whole banana. Banana is made of 74.91% water, 1.09% protein, 0.33% fat, and 22.84% carbohydrates.
It means that bananas, full of carbohydrates, can be good energy boosters. Apart from protein, there are several minerals and vitamins found in bananas. A whole banana contains approximately 362mg of potassium, which is another source of energy.
Bananas are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and therefore can keep your immune system strong. Bananas also contain copper, magnesium, manganese, and fiber. All of these minerals help you to digest food and relieve constipation. Unripe bananas contain resistant starch that moderates your blood sugar levels. If your body is lagging these nutrients, you can start having Spirulina Supplements in your banana smoothie to see a greater improvement.
Why do Bananas Turn Brown So Quickly?
Have you ever wondered why bananas turn brown so fast that sometimes you cannot even complete an entire bunch and have to discard one or two? Well, bananas turn brown very quickly due to a gas called ethylene. It is a typical gas produced by most of the fruits as they ripe. But bananas tend to produce this gas in a much bigger amount and produce ethylene much faster than most other fruits, which results in over-ripening at a fast speed. Over ripening makes the yellow-colored skin break down and turn brown.
Are Organic Bananas Vegan?
We already know that banana itself is vegan as any other fruit and the only alarming factor is chitosan the aerogel, which is a pesticide derived from crab shells, used during cultivation. Now, the bananas that are grown organically never go through spraying some random animal-derived pesticides like chitosan. Hence, organic bananas are considered vegan. In fact, organic bananas are healthier than those with pesticides sprayed on. A level 5 vegan only prefers to have vegan (organic) banana variety.
Tips for Keeping Organic Bananas Fresh for Longer
Organic bananas are costlier than regular bananas and they also tend to ripe faster. However, there are a few tricks that you can try to give your bananas a longer shelf life. If you follow these tips, organic bananas won’t ripen as fast as they do.
Wrapping the bananas in plastic wrap works since it keeps them airtight and free from moisture. Secondly, you can try keeping the bananas in the freezer. The dry air limits the ethylene production and avoids quick ripening. And of course, you can prepare banana smoothie or quinoa smoothie with banana that has great taste and several health benefits.
In this analysis, we came to the conclusion that bananas usually are vegan and whole, fresh bananas are always gluten-free. They have a very short shelf life and therefore, some industries spray an animal-derived pesticide named chitosan, which can make bananas unsafe for vegans. The alternative is organic bananas, which are vegan-friendly.
So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy organic bananas without any guilt and in case they ripe too fast, bake them into delicious pudding, cakes, banana muffins , cookies, and bars. Either way, you will be benefited with health and nutrition.