Banana flakes, a dried form of bananas, aren’t commonly found in grocery stores, but you might stumble across them online or at your local health food market and supplement store.
While not as widely known as fresh bananas, banana flakes are sometimes recommended by doctors and dietitians as a way to alleviate digestive issues, particularly diarrhea.
In this article, we’ll explain everything there is to know about banana flakes, including their health benefits and how you can use them in your diet.
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What are banana flakes?
Banana flakes (also called banana powder) are a dehydrated, pulverized form of bananas, made by drying out ripe bananas and then grinding them into a flaky powder.
Banana flakes have a distinct, sweet flavor that is reminiscent of ripe bananas. In terms of texture, banana flakes are typically light and crunchy when dry. When rehydrated, they take on a soft, creamy consistency similar to mashed bananas.
Banana flakes nutrition
Banana flakes are nutritionally similar to fresh bananas — they’re high in carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium, and they contain no protein or fat.
Here is the nutritional information for banana flakes, based on a 2-tablespoon (16-gram) serving size (1):
- Calories: 58
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 14 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugars: 8 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
- Potassium: 150 mg (3% DV)
- Iron: 0.2 mg (1% DV)
- Calcium: 4 mg (<1% DV)
Keep in mind that the nutrient content of banana flakes will vary depending on the product. Always check the supplement label for the most accurate nutrition information.
Fiber in banana flakes
Benefits of banana flakes
1. Help manage diarrhea
Banana flakes are often recommended to reduce symptoms of diarrhea.
In a 1997 study, researchers tested the effects of banana flakes vs. medications on diarrhea in people who were critically ill and receiving tube feedings (7).
They found that 57% of people who received banana flakes were diarrhea-free at the end of the study, compared to only 24% of the people who received anti-diarrheal medications.
While there haven’t been any other studies on banana flakes, more recent research shows that soluble fiber, such as the kind found in bananas, may protect against diarrhea.
Soluble fiber can improve diarrhea symptoms by absorbing excess water in the GI tract, helping to form stool and prevent it from moving too quickly through the intestines (8).
Banana flakes also contain potassium (about 150 mg per 2 tablespoon serving), which helps to prevent electrolyte imbalances that can occur during bouts of diarrhea.
More research is needed, but it’s worth giving banana flakes a try if you’re experiencing diarrhea on a regular basis.
2. Unproven claims
Certain brands of banana flakes claim that their product can alleviate symptoms of acid reflux (heartburn).
There is some evidence that consuming more fiber, like the kind found in banana flakes, may help decrease the frequency of heartburn symptoms (9).
However, no research has looked at the effects of banana flakes, specifically. It may be better to rely on other strategies to manage heartburn, such as avoiding meals within 2-3 hours of bedtime and elevating the head of your bed (10).
One brand of banana flakes (called Nana Flakes) says that their product can help stimulate appetite. However, we couldn’t find any research to support this claim.
In fact, the opposite is probably true. Bananas contain fiber, which helps you feel full longer by slowing the release of food from the stomach into the small intestine (11).
Where to buy banana flakes
Banana flakes are rarely available in supermarkets but can be purchased online or found at health food markets and supplement stores.
Here are some of the most popular banana flakes products available on Amazon:
- Nana Flakes
- Ingredients: dried banana
- Ingredients: banana flakes, Bimuno prebiotic (galactooligosaccharides, lactose, glucose, galactose)
- Z Natural Foods Organic Banana Flakes
- Ingredients: organic raw ripe banana
How to store banana flakes
Store banana flakes in a dark, cool place, such as a pantry or kitchen cabinet. Always keep them in a sealed container to keep out moisture, which can cause the banana flakes to clump together.
How to use banana flakes
1. As a supplement
Banana flakes can be an excellent way to promote regular bowel movements and reduce symptoms of diarrhea when taken as a supplement.
Simply mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of banana flakes with at least 8 ounces of water, juice, or milk. You can also add them to applesauce, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, and protein shakes.
Start by taking banana flakes once daily — this is usually enough to achieve bowel regularity. However, in cases of severe diarrhea, you may need to take banana flakes 2 to 3 times per day.
2. As a substitute for fresh bananas
Banana flakes are a convenient, shelf-stable substitute for fresh bananas in baked goods, oatmeal bowls, and other recipes.
For every medium-sized banana that the recipe calls for, you’ll want to use 2 tablespoons (around 16 grams) of banana flakes.
Before adding banana flakes to your recipe, rehydrate them by combining 3 parts hot water with 1 part banana flakes. Stir until the banana flakes reach a consistency similar to mashed banana.
3. As a substitute for eggs
Banana flakes can be a great substitute for eggs in baked goods, especially for those who follow a vegan or egg-free diet.
To use banana flakes as an egg replacement, combine 2 tablespoons of banana flakes with 1/3 cup of water and allow the mixture to thicken for about 5 minutes before adding to the batter. You’ll also need to reduce the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.
Rehydrated banana flakes have a gel-like consistency that mimics the binding properties of eggs. Still, the overall texture of baked goods made with banana flakes may be slightly different compared to recipes that use eggs.
4. As a substitute for oil or butter
By incorporating banana flakes as a substitute for oil or butter in baked goods and other recipes, you can not only reduce the fat content but also add a delightful banana flavor.
To use banana flakes as a replacement, combine 4 tablespoons of banana flakes with 3/4 cup of water and allow the mixture to gel for about 5 minutes before adding to the batter.
It’s recommended to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve moisture and prevent over-browning. This adjustment will help maintain the desired texture and ensure even baking.
Banana flakes are simply dried bananas that have been ground into a flaky powder. They are high in carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium, similar to fresh bananas.
While scientific research directly relating to banana flakes is limited, they contain soluble fiber, which may help reduce symptoms of diarrhea.
You can incorporate banana flakes into your diet in several ways, including as a supplement or as a substitute for fresh bananas, eggs, oil, or butter in baked goods and other recipes.
Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today. Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.