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8 months ago
Baby care tip #47 — Avoid giving raw banana to your child when constipated

If you thought that giving a banana to your child was the best way to deal with constipation, well I have to break the bad news over here, it is not. In fact, giving bananas to your child when constipated might make it worse. Raw bananas particularly aren’t a good choice for constipation for kids. Here are few other home remedies for childhood constipation.

The simple reason is that the raw bananas are high in tannins and starch which makes them an unlikely remedy to beat constipation. Instead, they would harden the stool further leading to more bloating flatulence and stomach ache. Unripe or raw bananas contain 100-250 mg tannins/100 gm and have high amylase-resistant starch content. This is why they can aggravate the pre-existing constipation. However, with ripe bananas, the chances of worsening the constipation lessen. As bananas ripen the amount of tannins and amylase-resistant starch decreases while the amount of soluble sugar and fibre increases. This is why ripe bananas are thought to be a good home remedy for childhood constipation. However, even with all the fibre and soluble sugars that a ripe banana has, it might not be an excellent home remedy for constipation. Ripe bananas contain 3 gm fibre/120 gm, mostly in the form of soluble fibre. They also contain amylase-resistant starch and tannins, which means they can still have an adverse effect on hard stools. Here are four side-effects of having bananas.

In fact, there are other fibre rich foods like peas, grams, lentil and pulses and fruits like apple, grape, pear, plum, etc., which have more fibre than a banana. But we are not telling you to exclude banana from your child’s diet. As fruit bananas are rich in potassium and other micro and macronutrients which are essential for your baby’s development. But when your child is suffering from constipation depending on ripe bananas as a solution might not be right.

To deal with childhood constipation the best thing to do is to inculcate good lifestyle habits, which can help to keep the stools soft. Some of the basic things that you can do are ensure that your child eats a balanced diet rich in fibre, drinks at least 1.5 litres of water, limits eating junk and indulges in light exercises. As far as eating bananas go, offer them as a part of their diet and let it be a regular fruit in their diet chart. Don’t bring bananas home just to treat a bout of constipation, it might not help. But regular intake of fibre through diet (including bananas) can help to prevent constipation in children.

Reference:

1: Shiga TM, Soares CA, Nascimento JR, Purgatto E, Lajolo FM, Cordenunsi BR. Ripening-associated changes in the amounts of starch and non-starch polysaccharides and their contributions to fruit softening in three banana cultivars. J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Jun;91(8):1511-6. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4342. Epub 2011 Mar 28. PubMed PMID: 21445854.

Bae, S. H. (2014). Diets for Constipation. Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, 17(4), 203—208. http://doi.org/10.5223/pghn.2014.17.4.203

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