Looking for some creative ways to use up your bananas? In this post, I’ll walk you through the rich history of bananas and a gluten-free diet AND 10+ gluten-free banana recipes you can make today.
Drafted by Sierra King, Finalized by Tayler Silfverduk, RDN
Did you know the original treatment for celiac disease involved what was known as a banana diet?
Dr. Samuel Gee was a physician and pediatrician who lectured in 1887 on the modern definition of celiac disease. He speculated that food could be the treatment for celiac disease and trialed many diets on celiac patients, trying to prevent or cure the disease.
Fast-forward to 1924, where Dr. Sidney Haas founded the banana diet after observing people from Puerto Rico suffering from celiac when they ate a lot of bread. He came up for this diet to treat children suffering from excessive diarrhea and vomiting. The diet included pot cheese, milk, oranges, vegetables, gelatin, meat and of course, bananas.
However, Dr. Haas failed to make the connection between gluten and celiac. In fact, it also was still believed that once people recovered on this diet, they did not have to continue it. They believed that this diet “cured” people with celiac. However, we know today that you can not cure celiac. It requires a lifelong gluten-free diet.
Fast-forward again to 1952, when Dr. Willem Karel Dicke realized a potential link between celiac and wheat. During WWII, Dr. Dicke noticed that death rate of celiacs dropped to zero when bread became unavailable in the Netherlands. This is how him and his colleagues identified gluten as the trigger for celiac, thus, establishing a gluten-free diet (a celiac diet) as the lifelong treatment.
Bananas are a gluten-free food but that doesn’t mean everyone who is gluten-free can digest them. Ripe bananas are rich in oligofructans, which are sugars that can be hard to digest.
In fact, oligofructans are categorized as a FODMAP. FODMAPs are fermentable sugars that can cause digestive problems in people with IBS and other conditions.
However, that’s up to the individual to determine if FODMAPs are a trigger. And it’s important to note that the riper the banana, the higher the FODMAPs, so green bananas may be better tolerated in some cases.
Because unripe bananas are lower in FODMAPs, I’ve included some green banana recipes down below.
Bananas are nutrient powerhouses to include on a gluten-free diet. They have potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, copper, manganese, and fiber. A lot of which many celiacs need on a gluten-free diet (I’m looking at you fiber…).
Additionally, bananas have pectin and resistant starches, both of which can support blood sugars. (Yeah, sugar in bananas don’t have to be scary or bad – well food in general has no moral value… I digress).
Another reason to use bananas in gluten-free recipes are because bananas are excellent to build into your workout routine.Whether you need a quick dose of carbs before an intense workout or you are using them after a workout to restore your glycogen sores, bananas are a great source of energy for exercise.
Lastly, bananas serve as an awesome substitute for eggs or sugar if you don’t have any on hand or want to get creative with a recipe.
Put that banana down and save it from being put into another bread. Try these fun and unique gluten-free banana recipes that will change the way you see your bananas.