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Food Nutr Bull. 2003 Dec;24(4):303-18.

Carotenoid-rich bananas: a potential food source for alleviating vitamin A deficiency.

Author information

  • 1Nutrition Program, Division of International Health, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. nutrition@mail.fm

Abstract

This review article points out that bananas are an important food for many people in the world. Thus, banana cultivars rich in provitamin A carotenoids may offer a potential food source for alleviating vitamin A deficiency, particularly in developing countries. Many factors are associated with the presently known food sources of vitamin A that limit their effectiveness in improving vitamin A status. Acceptable carotenoid-rich banana cultivars have been identified in Micronesia, and some carotenoid-rich bananas have been identified elsewhere. Bananas are an ideal food for young children and families for many regions of the world, because of their sweetness, texture, portion size, familiarity, availability, convenience, versatility, and cost. Foods containing high levels of carotenoids have been shown to protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Because the coloration of the edible flesh of the banana appears to be a good indicator of likely carotenoid content, it may be possible to develop a simple method for selecting carotenoid-rich banana cultivars in the community. Research is needed on the identification of carotenoid-rich cultivars, targeting those areas of the world where bananas are a major staple food; investigating factors affecting production, consumption, and acceptability; and determining the impact that carotenoid-rich bananas may have on improving vitamin A status. Based on these results, interventions should be undertaken for initiating or increasing homestead and commercial production.

PMID:
14870618
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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