Can you eat a banana in cough and cold?

Banana is a fruit for all. It’s available throughout the year, affordable, nutritious, and tasty and of course easy to eat – what else you need? No wonder banana is the most popular fruit.

However, when you get cold, cough, or fever – seniors suggests you avoid banana. The intention of writing this article is to find the scientific basis of this general notion. Therefore read the blog till the end to clear all your doubts on – can I have a banana in cough, cold, or fever?

Can you have banana in cough and cold? 2

Banana during cough and cold – The two schools of thoughts

If you check this topic in the internet, you will get to see two opposite opinion on this.

Few will suggest, banana is extremely healthy so you must continue to have it during cough and cold. Whereas the other group will strongly recommend you to avoid it as it will increase the mucous formation. So what to do? Let’s understand their points first.

Why not banana?

Banana is loaded with nutrients – carbohydrate, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients etc.

When you are sick, you don’t really feel like eating. However, it is also true that during illness – cough, cold, and fever – your body fights hard against the infection. Therefore you need more nutrients to fight better. You can’t ignore the following seven basic benefits of ripe banana even during your illness –

  1. It’s a good source of carbohydrate (27.2 g /100 g of edible portion)thus provide you energy
  2. A good source of soluble dietary fiber which helps to clear the bowel movement
  3. Good source of  vitamin B complex, magnesium, potassium, and other micronutrients helps to maintain the general metabolic functions
  4. Helps to restore your gut health
  5. Helpful to reduce anxiety and stress
  6. Play a role to reduce inflammation and provide an antioxidant effect
  7. Easily available, affordable, easy to eat, and tasty

Why NO banana?

Banana is considered as “cold” food thus increase the formation of mucous in the body. Therefore it is believed if you are already struggling with cold, cough, and fever – the situation is most likely to get worse once you eat a banana.

Does banana increases mucous formation?

Banana contains histamine. In fact, banana is one of the high histamine containing food.  Histamine triggers the hyper secretion of mucous. Therefore the common belief that bananas increase mucous secretion is partially true.

However, don’t jump into the conclusion early. You also need to know few other facts.

Can you have banana in cough and cold? 1

Cold, cough, mucous, histamine, and your diet – 

Don’t think the formation of mucous is always bad. In fact, mucous helps to keep our nasal route clean. It actually prevents any pathogen to enter our body. In general, our body generates 1 to 1.5 liter of mucous every day. 

During infection/ allergy the mucous formation automatically increased.

Histamine is a chemical that is present in almost all the tissues of our body. It is also found in other animal’s body as well as in plants. Therefore we also get histamine from food as well.

Whenever some foreign body (pollen/ dust/ food chemical/virus/bacteria/fungus etc) attacks our body, histamine secretes from mast cells and to some extent from the basophile (white blood cells)as a natural immune response.

Histamine triggers allergic symptoms like secretion of tears, itching, excess secretion of mucous, swelling, redness, etc.

No matter how annoying these symptoms are, they help to fight the infection/ allergy better and prevent worsening of the situation.

We have histamine balancing mechanisms in our bodies. On one hand, our body secretes histamine whereas, on the other hand, an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) helps to break down the histamine to maintain checks and balances.

Can you have banana in cough and cold? 3

The problem starts when the histamine secretion rate goes higher than the rate of breakdown. As a result, you continue to experience the allergic symptoms – hypersecretion of mucous/ itching/ redness/ swelling/ tears, etc.  Sometimes it may happen due to deficiency of DAO. It is important to shut the histamine secretion when the crisis is over.

This is the time when your body tries hard to deal with excess histamine. An antihistamine diet helps to calm this situation.

Not only banana, foods which are high in histamine – fermented foods (pickle, curd, sauerkraut, etc), wine, avocado, eggplant, raisin, cashew, almond, citrus fruits, tomato, chocolate, etc – are to be avoided to bring down the histamine level and control the unwanted allergic symptoms.

Can you eat a banana in cough and cold?

Banana is a nutritious fruit. If you are suffering from a common cold and cough or fever for 2-3 days, you can take a ripe banana 3-4 times a week. Even though banana is high in histamine content, your body is well equipped to balance it. But if you are struggling with allergic symptoms like excess secretion of mucous and tears, itching, rashes, etc for more than 2 weeks, avoid having high histamine foods like bananas for better histamine balance.

Frequently asked questions on eating a banana –

Can you eat banana in dry cough?

Banana is loaded with carbohydrates, a good source of soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Besides this, banana is soft and easy to swallow. Consuming a ripe banana a day is good for gut health and controlling stress.

Can you eat banana at night?

Banana is a healthy and nutritious snack option. Therefore instead of snacking on chips, instant noodles, or sweets, it is better to have a banana at night.  Most people can easily digest bananas even at night. Many find having warm milk and ripe banana helpful to relieve constipation the next morning. However, if you are suffering from a cold and cough for more than 2 weeks, avoid having a banana even in the daytime.

Eating bananas can lead to common cold – true or false

Banana is a high histamine-containing food. Histamine is responsible for producing all the allergic symptoms – hypersecretion of mucous and tears, itching, redness, swelling, etc. However, there is no substantial scientific data to show that eating bananas can lead to the common cold. In fact, one can enjoy bananas in moderation even during a common cold. Our body is capable enough to balance the food histamine. If the cold and cough sustain for more than 14 days, then avoid banana to reduce the histamine load.

Fruits to avoid during cough and cold

For prolong episode of untreated cough and cold and other allergic symptoms, try avoiding high histamine fruits like –Citrus fruits – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, Papaya, Banana, Avocado etc.

Summery

Banana is easy food, a healthy and tasty snack. When you are down with a cough, cold, fever, and don’t really feel like having much food, a banana can provide you instant energy and nutrition. Therefore if you are suffering from common cough and cold for 2-3 days, feel free to consume banana in a day. But avoid banana if the allergic symptoms are persistent for more than two weeks.

Dr. Soma Chakrabarty

http://wellnessmunchcom.wordpress.com

Dr. Soma Chakrabarty has done her Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition in 2017. She is based in Hyderabad. She has 12 yrs of working experience in nutrition. Dr. Soma guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve the goal of wellness. She believes in a sustainable diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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2 Comments

  • Misconceptions cleared.Thank you.

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