Gluten is really tricky because the stuff seems to be in just about everything these days. It seems more appropriate to ask if you have (insert food group here) in your gluten. When it comes to bananas, it’s easy to think that surely there’s no gluten in something as natural as a banana. Is there?
Fortunately, there is no gluten in a banana—not one bit. Consuming a banana is eating as gluten-free as you can possibly get. Bananas do have 17g of sugar and 120 calories but they are loaded with potassium, which is a nutrient everyone needs a lot of, every day.
Bananas are pretty versatile and you can mix and match them with any number of gluten-free recipes and even make some pretty good gluten-free smoothies with them. However, if your body has trouble dealing with gluten, you may still have problems with bananas.
Bananas are a fruit, so there is no gluten in them. Unfortunately, those who have to deal with Celiac Disease will still struggle with bananas because of a protein known as lectin. Unfortunately, lectin acts a lot like gluten once it is digested and absorbed into the body.
It essentially tricks the body into thinking that it is gluten, triggering an autoimmune response. So, if you are dealing with Celiac Disease, you would do well to stay away from bananas.
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Even in those who don’t have Celiac Disease, bananas also have another protein known as chitinase. Chitinase aggravates the gut in those who have an intolerance for gluten. It’s not that it necessarily acts like gluten, just that abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems crop up in some gluten-intolerant individuals who eat bananas.
What is Gluten?
Rye, wheat, and barley are essentially gluten since gluten is the primary protein found in all three. If you’re thinking that rye, wheat, and barley would be fairly easy to eliminate from your diet, you would be wrong, because elements of all three are seemingly in everything.
Going on a gluten-free diet is no simple task. Even some of the products that are labeled gluten-free may end up with trace amounts of gluten in them. For those who are intolerant to gluten, it mainly attacks the guy, causing a number of different issues.
- Excessive gas
- Abdominal cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inflammation in the gut
There are also other things not associated with the gut that gluten can affect, including the skin, turning it into a flaky mess and giving the affected individual a bad case of dermatitis. Gluten has even been known for causing brain fog, which is incredibly aggravating for individuals that are required to focus on their jobs or just go to school.
Is it Safe to Eat A Lot of Bananas?
Now that you know bananas are absolutely gluten-free, you may be curious as to how many you can eat every day. Of course, you don’t have to eat bananas straight out of the peel and no other way. As we mentioned above, you can eat bananas in a variety of ways and mixed into other, gluten-free foods.
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It’s okay to eat a couple of bananas every day. Anything more than that risks overloading you with potassium because bananas aren’t the only things that contain potassium. Eating too many bananas may cause other problems as well.
- Weight gain
- Tooth decay
There is a myth that goes around from time to time that eating too many bananas can kill you. It’s just that—a myth. While eating too many bananas is certainly not the best thing in the world for your body, it won’t kill you.
Six bananas are considered to be enough potassium that can cause adverse reactions in your body as well.
Are Banana Chips Gluten-Free?
It makes sense that they would be since banana chips are essentially just dehydrated banana slices. The truth is, it depends on the banana chips and the manufacturer. Some of the additives that go into making banana slices into chips may have gluten, even if the banana does not.
For the most part, banana chips are probably going to be free of any gluten but it’s always a good idea to do your homework on any banana-related snack you decide to pick up. The most common ingredients that go into banana chips are banana flavoring, sugar, and coconut oil.
Since bananas are also vegan, banana chips make for a good, gluten-free, vegan snack on top of its other benefits.
What Are Bananas Made Of?
Bananas are surprisingly simple when it comes to the materials that constitute them. Roughly 1% of a banana is nothing but protein. There are far more carbohydrates in a banana so if you are on one of those carb diets, stay away. Almost a quarter of a banana is nothing but carbohydrates.
Water makes up the vast majority of a banana, though it doesn’t seem that way, at 75%. The rest, roughly .30%, is nothing more than fats. As far as vitamins and minerals are concerned, there is plenty to go around, especially where potassium is concerned.
But bananas are also loaded with vitamin C. They aren’t on the same level as oranges or tangerines but there is a healthy dose of C in every banana. Calories are decent at 90 to 120 and you also have the aforementioned 17g or so of sugars.
If carbohydrates and sugar are on your radar for things to stay away from, a banana probably shouldn’t be on your menu. However, for people who are looking for gluten-free snacks, it’s hard to find something that is better for you and gluten-free than a banana.
All Things Considered
Although bananas are gluten-free, they do have certain proteins that may be bothersome for certain individuals, especially if you are dealing with Celiac Disease or have certain reactions to chitinase proteins.
Otherwise, bananas are pretty healthy and they mix well with a variety of other fruits, all of which are gluten-free.