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Question
Posted by: Ann | 2010/10/17

Eat ripe bananas = coughing

Dear DietDoc
Why do you think my chest closes and I cough quite a lot whenever I eat ripe bananas? This never happens when I eat slightly green bananas, which I happen to prefer.
Thanks!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Ann
I can only guess that there is a compound in ripe bananas that you are allergic or sensitive to. Ripe bananas do give off ethylene gas which may be the culprit. People often use this fact to ripen other fruit like avocados by placing them in a paper packet together with a ripe banana. Ethylene gas is also used commercially to artificially ripen green, unripe fruit. If this persists then you may need to have allergy or sensitivity tests done to identify exactly which compound you react to. Otherwise, avoid ripe bananas and rather eat other fruit.
Best regards
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: adam | 2016/06/16

YOU COUGH BECAUSE BANANAS ARE FIRM AND DON'T GO DOWN THE TUBE AS EASY. DRINK WATER WITH EVERY BITE AND YOU WONT COUGH AS MUCH OR AT ALL. NO FANCY MEDICAL EXPLANATION FOR THIS PROBLEM.

Reply to adam | 1 comment (hide)
Posted by: Wayne | 2016/07/02

I think i'll go with the "fancy medical" reply Adam due to the fact I get the same urge to cough whenever I drink a banana drink ie. Back of the throat feels like it gets warmer and then the little cough starts

Posted by: adam | 2016/06/16

YOU COUGH BECAUSE BANANAS ARE FIRM AND DON'T GO DOWN THE TUBE AS EASY. DRINK WATER WITH EVERY BITE AND YOU WONT COUGH AS MUCH OR AT ALL. NO FANCY MEDICAL EXPLANATION FOR THIS PROBLEM.

Reply to adam
Posted by: Marc | 2016/03/31

Bananas make me cough too. I wonder if organic ones will do the same thing. Maybe it's the chemicals?

Reply to Marc
Posted by: Me Too | 2016/01/13

Me too. Ripe bananas make me cough, but not smoothies heavy with banana.

Reply to Me Too
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/01/10

I cough from them too and red.licorice. I also.sneeze if I look at the sun. People think I am nuts

Reply to Anonymous | 1 comment (hide)
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/04/14

Exactly the same as me!!! I wish I could find an answer!

Posted by: Anonymous | 2015/11/22

This happens to me too, with no other allergic reactions what so ever. I'm allergic to quite a lot of foods, but none of them make me cough.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015/10/07

Me too! Glad to know I'm not alone!

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Amanda | 2015/09/04

I'm another "ripe bananas make me cough" person. As mentioned by another commenter, even banana flavored candies (especially laffy taffy) will give me the same cough. Odd that although it's not a rare phenomenon, that there is so little information about what causes the issue (except the leading guess of something to do with ethylene gas).

Reply to Amanda
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015/07/23

Chinese medicine lists banana as an aggravator of coughs as a "cool" fruit. Depending on your type of cough and state of your body. Here is an example website: http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/exam/cough_dietary.html

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Redondo Dennis | 2015/07/01

The allergic reaction to ripe bananas has happened to me now three times as an adult (67 years old). I eat bananas almost every day for breakfast in my smoothie. However, twice now, I have had too allergic reactions (swelling to lips) when I have eaten "ripe" bananas - that is bananas where the skins are starting to blacken. When this swelling happens my allergist suggests I take two Zyrtec and 50 mg of over the counter Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) Then continue the benadryl every 4 - 6 hours until the swelling subsides. Of course benadryl will make you sleepy so be careful when taking. Don't know if non-drozy benadryl will work. Hope this helps others.

Reply to Redondo Dennis
Posted by: marionette | 2015/06/20

I cough when i eat ripe bananas only, yellow ones i have no problem. I also cough if i eat ice cream or sherbet or drink a shake, or even eat yogurt. I thought perhaps it was the texture. Like thick liquid that clings to my throat.

Reply to marionette
Posted by: Helen | 2015/06/08

I choke when a bananas is opened near me - the more ripe it is the quicker and more strong the reaction!! I have said I think it must be some sort of gas being released - I get the same reaction from some freshly sprayed perfumes and deodrants too. If feels like my throat is closing down and leaves me with a sore throat for a couple of hours (probably from the choking).

Reply to Helen
Posted by: Pals | 2015/06/04

Yes the same thing happens to me and my family. But others make fun of it that it suits everyone, why it doesn't suit you. They think we are 'crazy'

Reply to Pals
Posted by: ritely | 2015/04/19

Happens to me too... and I thought I was the only one... my wife told me I was "crazy."

Reply to ritely
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015/01/13

Yup me 2.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/09/09

This has been happening to me since I was young. Although I still eat them and am not allergic to anything (to my knowledge). Even banana Laffy Taffy will do it. I don't really find the "scraping your banana with a knife" thing worth it. The cough has never felt as though it was detrimental to my health.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/07/14

Ripe bananas make me cough, too. As soon as they start getting brown spots they're a problem, but if they're just yellow or a little green, I'm fine. My grandma used to always let her bananas get spots and then after she peeled them she would scrape the outer bit of banana off with a knife. I always thought her banana scraping was ridiculous and just made for a really slippery banana, but I wonder if she had the same thing, too. I have discovered that if I scrape a ripe banana before eating it, it doesn't make me cough. It doesn't take much - just one run of a table knife down the side of the banana all the way around (after peeling). Has anyone else ever tried/experienced that?

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/06/06

My Boss gets extreme coughing spells with heavy flatulence when he eats Yellow Ripe bananas...it smells like gas...

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: bahbow1000 | 2014/05/09

seems to be from the ethylene that is used to ripen the fruit and also the ethylene that the fruit naturally releases as it ripens. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethylene http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2006-05-02/business/0605020077_1_bananas-chiquita-ethylene-gas sounds harmless enough. just a slight cough from low levels of natural gas.

Reply to bahbow1000
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/03/11

This happens to me too. It only happens while i am eating bananas then later it goes away.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/01/11

Me too! Everything time I eat one I cough. It's almost like an asthma cough... Weird

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/01/09

Same thing happens to me too. Why is there not a good answer for this elsewhere? It's a common search on google but no one seems to know the answer exactly.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: brent | 2013/10/02

Yep same thing happens to me.

Reply to brent
Posted by: DietDoc | 2010/10/18

Dear Ann
I can only guess that there is a compound in ripe bananas that you are allergic or sensitive to. Ripe bananas do give off ethylene gas which may be the culprit. People often use this fact to ripen other fruit like avocados by placing them in a paper packet together with a ripe banana. Ethylene gas is also used commercially to artificially ripen green, unripe fruit. If this persists then you may need to have allergy or sensitivity tests done to identify exactly which compound you react to. Otherwise, avoid ripe bananas and rather eat other fruit.
Best regards
DietDoc

Reply to DietDoc

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