Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Carotenoids rich banana

The Food and Agriculture Organization considers banana the fourth most important food in the world, after rice, wheat, and maize. People in developed countries are mostly familiar with Cavendish bananas. Internationally this cultivar accounts for 41% of all banana production. However, there are over 30 banana species, with around 500 varieties having edible fruits, which make up the remaining world production.

Bananas have a considerable diversity in fruit carotenoid content. Carotenoids are known for their wide distribution, structural diversity and multiple functions. Animals are unable to biosynthesize carotenoids. Thus, they depend on dietary provitamin A carotenoids, which can be absorbed and converted into vitamin A after ingestion. Hydrocarbon carotenoids are known as carotenes, and oxygenated derivatives are called xanthophylls.

Carotenoids are present in fruits, vegetables and other crops and they are also found in algae, bacteria, yeast and fungi.

Recent studies have identified 18 banana cultivars grown in Micronesia that have high levels of provitamin A. The Pohnpei Karat banana, a traditional weaning food in the Federated States of Micronesia, contains 867 µg of β-carotene/100 g (average of several samples analyzed by two laboratories).

Some Southeast Asia banana cultivars contain 300 to 400 µg of β-carotene/100 g. These commonly eaten bananas have over 10 times the β-carotene level of the common Cavendish.

The coloration of the ripe edible flesh (in these studies ranging from white to cream to yellow to yellow/orange to orange) was a good indicator of carotenoid content, with higher levels in deeper yellow and orange-fleshed cultivars.

Provitamin A carotenoids, most importantly α-carotene, followed by β-carotene, are those which are converted into vitamin A in the body and help protect against infection, night blindness and eye disease.

Carotenoid-rich foods, whether with vitamin A activity or not, have been credited with other beneficial effects on human health: enhancement of the immune response and reduction of the risk of degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Carotenoids rich banana


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