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This might seem like a funny question, but it actually is not.

My 13 month old daughter started to have constipation and we were trying to figure out what it could have been.

While researching, I found out that you need to stay away from BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast)...the combo that helps you when you have diarrhea. Those four things are actually her favorite. We started to reduce the amount of bananas (she really loved 'nanas') and the others, too and that seemed to do the trick. Upon further research supposedly ripe bananas do not cause constipation.

So my question is...how ripe does a banana have to be so as to not contribute to constipation?

UPDATE

http://www.raw-food-health.net/Bananas-Constipation.html - here's a good reference that talks about ripeness and effects on constipation.

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Our pediatricians had us buy a box of Miralax. Our girls hate food, so as it goes, they only liked things like Bananas, Rice, etc. I wasn't about to just toss out two of the three things they willingly ate, so I would use Miralax when it seemed like it was catching up to them. It seemed to work when needed. I am not one for regiments, so obviously I didn't give them a daily dose or anything. –  Kai Qing Mar 2 at 22:46

4 Answers 4

It's not a matter of ripeness, if you feed her a banana you're feeding her a banana. The BRATY diet is fine even when a child is well, you just need to make sure she's drinking enough fluids.

Kids often don't feel thirsty, or recognize it when they are, you have to remind them to drink. Make sure there's water available to her, and remind her to drink. Constipation is often more a result of dehydration then diet.

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I've never heard that ripeness matters, but the amount does. We have a rule of "one per day" and that works fine. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Nov 22 '12 at 12:18
    
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun a good habbit to teach in general anyway. Moderation is great. –  balanced mama Nov 23 '12 at 15:34
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I agree that hydration is a big factor. I didn't use to think that ripeness mattered, but there were many sources that I read which indicates that it does. I think that part of the inconsistent conclusions regarding bananas/ripeness/constipation is due to the subjective determination of 'ripeness' of a banana. :) Please see my update above. –  milesmeow Nov 23 '12 at 20:14
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Is there some reference for this? Absent actual research inks, this seems as invalid of a guess as the opposite, sorry –  user3143 Dec 3 '12 at 10:49
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According to Skeptics.SE: never. Banana's ripeness has almost no effect on constipation.

http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/13907/does-the-ripeness-of-a-banana-have-any-effect-on-causing-constipation/13911#13911

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Nice, thanks! +1 –  Beofett Dec 3 '12 at 17:28

In this article on Ehow.com, it is the ripeness of banana that will determine if it can cause constipation or not. Green or unripened bananas can cause constipation because it is full of heavy starches that exacerbate constipation. Whereas, a ripe banana has fiber content which helps in removing the bowels in the intestinal tract, so it helps in relieving constipation.

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unripe banana = constipation

There are 2 factors when considering bananas and constipation:

1) starch vs. simple sugars: A green banana with some yellow is 80% starch and 7% sugar. A mostly yellow banana is 25% starch and 65% sugar. A spotted and specked banana is 5% starch and 90% sugar. Startch is significantly harder to break down & digest than sugar.

2) pectin vs. pectinase: As bananas ripen they produce ethylene gas. Ethylene causes the production of an enzyme called pectinase. Pectinase breaks down the pectin between the cells of a banana. Less pectin makes it considerably soften and easier for the body to digest.

So unless you or your child has diareah, let your bananas get very soft :)

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