Both bananas and apples are popular fruit choices among U.S. shoppers. They are also both readily available year round. Bananas and apples make healthy additions to any diet, as they each offer a variety of nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and lower your risk of disease.
When comparing a medium banana to a medium apple, the calorie difference is minimal, with 105 calories in the medium banana versus 95 calories in the apple. But a medium apple weighs 182 grams, while a medium banana weighs 118 grams. So when it comes to calorie density, the apple makes a lower-calorie choice when compared to the banana. This means that the apple will keep you feeling full on fewer overall calories than the banana. However, it is important to note that as a fresh fruit, the banana still makes a lower calorie choice when compared to juice or dried fruit, and foods like cake and candy.
Both the apple and banana contain nutrients that can help improve heart-health. The apple is a good source of pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber prevents your body from absorbing cholesterol, helping lower your blood cholesterol levels and reducing your risk of heart disease. Bananas are high in potassium, with 422 milligrams in a medium piece of fruit. Including more potassium rich foods in your diet can aid in blood pressure control. The American Heart Association recommends you aim for 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day for heart-health.
Both the apple and the banana have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index ranks how food affects blood sugar. Foods with a low-glycemic index, a number less than or equal to 55, cause only a slight rise in blood sugar, while a food with a high-glycemic index, a number greater than or equal to 70, causes a rapid increase in blood sugar. Consuming a diet that includes more low-glycemic index foods can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The apple has a glycemic index of 40, while the banana has a glycemic index of 51.
Both the banana and apple are good sources of antioxidants, including vitamin A and vitamin C. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage by free radicals, decreasing your risk of cancer and heart disease. A medium banana contains 10 milligrams of vitamin C and 76 International Units of vitamin A, while a medium apple contains 8 mg of vitamin C and 98 International Units of vitamin A.