Got Diarrhea? Green Banana!

Green bananas for diarrhea

Hopefully, the title will make sense by the end of this post!


Can Green Bananas help with Diarrhea?
Watch this video on YouTube.
By playing the above video you agree to YouTube's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

The Problem

Those of us with active Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis often have constipation or diarrhea, and while neither is pleasant, diarrhea can be a real show-stopper if urgency and the fear of crapping yourself becomes an everyday occurrence.

Crohn’s Disease had me in the bathroom 20+ times a day, and it was a nightmare to manage. It often took a while for things to settle down, but a friend of mine (who also has Crohn’s) mentioned a trick that she uses to calm her gut and slow things down: Green Bananas.

Now, I love bananas as much as the next guy, but I only eat ripe bananas; for me it’s a yellow banana with black spots or GTFO! I would have never considered eating green bananas until she mentioned that they’ve been extremely helpful to her, halting her bowel movements for hours at a time (like 6 hours!).

Her secret is to eat 3-4 “greenish” bananas in the morning, and she’s able to go most of the day without a bowel movement.  She’s been doing this for the last year or so! One caveat, though: eating 8-10 green bananas a day gets old really fast, and if you can’t stomach that many, then you won’t find all-day relief.

I asked if making a green banana smoothie might help, but she said it only works for her when they are eaten whole. That’s a bummer, but I’m sure there’s something that can be done to make them more palatable (maple syrup anyone?).

The Science

I thought that this had to just be an anecdote; I know that bananas are good to help with the shits, but stopping Crohn’s (and a short-bowel) induced diarrhea sounds too good to be true!

So I started researching, and what do you know? This stuff can actually help to relieve diarrhea!

In the published article “Clinical studies in persistent diarrhea: dietary management with green banana or pectin in Bangladeshi children.” found in the journal Gastroenterology Sept 2001, it’s noted that:

Green banana and pectin are useful in the dietary management of persistent diarrhea in hospitalized children, and may also be useful to treat children at home. [SOURCE]

But how useful is useful??

Most children (60%) had no pathogens isolated from stools, 17% had rotavirus, 5% Vibrio cholerae, 4% Salmonella group B, and 11% had enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections. By day 3 post treatment, significantly (P < 0.001) more children recovered from diarrhea receiving pectin or banana than controls (59%, 55%, and 15%, respectively). By day 4, these proportions correspondingly increased to 82%, 78%, and 23%, respectively, the study diet groups being significantly (P < 0.001) different than controls. Green banana and pectin significantly (P < 0.05) reduced amounts of stool, oral rehydration solution, intravenous fluid, and numbers of vomiting, and diarrheal duration.”

Pectin, in case you didn’t know, is stuff you use in jam to gellify it. It’s found naturally in apples, which is why applesauce is often recommended for diarrhea – but applesauce  can sometimes cause diarrhea or stomach discomfort (at least it did for me!), so green bananas can be a great alternative.

In this study, researchers added both pectin and cooked green bananas to separate rice mixtures, then compared it to a rice-only mixture; the rice-only diet wasn’t doing much good compared to the green bananas or pectin groups.

The study speculates as to what exactly causes these green bananas to halt diarrhea, suggesting that it could be the short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) produced through bacterial fermentation in the colon which might be responsible. Regardless of the mechanism, they seem to work well!

Considering many IBDers rely on Imodium to control diarrhea, green bananas can be a more natural way to slow things down.

A Few Things to Consider

If you decide to try the green banana trick, please check with your doctor first or at least take it slow! If you’ve had any blockages, there’s no saying what slowing down your bowel movements could do.

The study mentioned above was not specifically testing the outcome for IBD patients, so keep that in mind before you ditch your current treatment (which I do NOT recommend without your doctor’s blessing).

Also, I have no idea if this will help ileostomates to slow down their output, since it seems that most of the “magic” happens in the colon.  If you’ve got an ileostomy and have tried this, let me know!

But that being said, regular bananas or rice will often help to slow output down (a full guide to dealing with liquid output can be found HERE).

Question: Have you tried green bananas to help with diarrhea? Did they help?

12 thoughts on “Got Diarrhea? Green Banana!”

  1. There is certainly a difference between Green and yellow bananas as all the above comments indicate.Something else I found that Green Bananas help with sleep much better than Yellow Bananas.This is truly a remarkable finding that has not been reported before.Green Bananas seem to have a very relaxing effect on the nervous system and may somehow release Serotonin and Dopamine more so than the Yellow ones.I now take 2-3 Green Bananas for a lovely night of sleep which is very soothing.This is a very exciting finding which has amazing impact on the health of the Human Body beyond anything anticipated.

    • Very interesting, Joseph!

      I have seen research about bananas having a positive effect on sleep quality, so I’m glad that you find green bananas to have benefits!

      Are you eating them straight, or do you process them in some way to make it more palatable?

  2. Have you tried green banana flour/powder? It’s marketed towards low carb/keto/paleo baking, but I find it works for my diarrhea and is much easier than chewing green bananas all day. I just make sure then one I buy is raw organic green banana and that it is safe for smoothies (ie consuming uncooked). The resistant starch/prebiotic element is only true if consumed raw. So I mix in a few tsps a day into some water right before eating. Tastes pleasantly like banana and is great long term.

  3. Ah, the magic of resistant starch, found in green, but not yellow, bananas. If green banana’s are hard to stomach, try potatoes. Potatoes form resistant starch when they are cooked and then cooled. Reheating them won’t affect the formed resistant starch.
    Resistant starch works as a prebiotic and acts like isoluable fiber, increasing stool volume and giving it more… uhm… structure. Because of it’s prebiotic properties, it can help heal your gut microbiome.

    If you’re into vegan baking, you might want to look up ‘green banana biomass’, which can replace oil and/or egg (yolks) in recipes. Use sparingly, because this stuff can have a laxative effect.

    • Yes! Resistant starch is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! Refrigerated (cooked) potatoes or rice is considerably healthier than just cooked, simply because of the change in the starch!

      I don’t think I ever used green bananas as an egg replacement, though. That’s an interesting one!


      • I don’t think I ever used green bananas as an egg replacement, though. That’s an interesting one!

        It’s a bit of a hassle to make, and the bananas need to be absolutely unripe. But, once you’ve made it, it stores pretty well in the freezer. Honestly tho, I’m just as happy using flaxseed or chiaseed as egg replacers.

  4. I have an ileostomy and since my latest surgery in Jan of 2022, am now battling Short Gut Syndrome. I am on lots of Lomotil to slooooow my output down and recently learned about green bananas. So tonight I got brave and ate half of one. We’ll see what happens!

    • Good luck, Alisa.

      Short bowel syndrome can be challenging, so I hope that you’re working with your doctor to make sure that you’re absorbing all the important nutrients from your meals.

      • Yes, I have a great team @ the University of Chicago that are helping me. It’s definitely a challenge to manage!
        BTW: the green banana did help soothe my stomach ache. And I’m now on a product to thicken my ostomy output. Main ingredient? Banana flakes. :)

  5. Hi, Thanks for your top-notch article. Actually, In most cases, diarrhea can be treated at home and it will resolve itself in a few days. Drink plenty of fluids, and follow the “BRAT" diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) to help ease symptoms. Take care to ensure infants and children stay hydrated. Electrolyte solutions such as Pedialyte can be helpful.


Leave a comment. (Your email will not be published)