Both apples and bananas are popular fruits. They are readily available all year around and can be eaten easily without the need for much preparation.
What are the differences in the benefits and nutritional value of both fruits?
This is the data obtained from USDA National Nutrient Database:
Comparing the nutritional value per 100 g of both fruits, you can see that the banana contains more calories than apple. So, you can get more energy from a banana than an apple. That is the reason why you find tennis players and marathon runners eating bananas to replenish their energy rather than apple.
What are the benefits?
1) Heart health
Apple contains a particular type of fiber called pectin, which is good for preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol from the food we eat or produced by the liver. Therefore, it is very good for lowering blood cholesterol.
Banana on the other hand contains a high amount of potassium ion. The American Heart Association recommends 4700 mg of potassium for optimum heart health. 1 cup of mashed banana contains 358 mg of potassium.
Banana is a rich source of Vitamin B, which combines with folic acid to lower the level of homocysteine in the blood. High level of homocysteine in the blood increases the risk of plaque formation that leads to blockage of blood vessel and eventually heart disease.
2) Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL)
Glycemic Index (GI) measures how fast a carbohydrate is digested and cause an increase in blood sugar, while a Glycemic Load (GL) measures how much carbohydrate is in the food. A GI of less than 70 will cause only a sight increase in blood sugar while GL of less than 10 indicate a low amount of carbohydrate in the food.
Apple has a GI of 40 and GL of 6 while banana has a GI of 51 and GL of 13. The banana has a total sugar of 28 g while apple has a total sugar content of 13 g. That is why the banana contains more calories than apple.
Apple is a good source of antioxidants. The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is the measurement of the antioxidant property of any food. The higher the value of ORAC, the higher the capacity to neutralize free radicals. ORAC value of apple with the skin is 3049 while that of a banana is 795.
Apple contains a quercetin, which makes oxygen available in the lungs and this helps in endurance sports. Banana is a rich source of Maganese, which is an important co-factor of antioxidant super oxide dismutase.
Both the apple and banana have their benefits. Use the banana for energy and a good source of potassium, while the apple is an excellent source of antioxidants. Make them part of your healthy diet everyday!
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