High protein banana loaf plus some interesting research on bananas

Protein banana loaf 2This was a great snack for the boyfriend and I on Saturday morning before we took our paddleskis out in the ocean. Now I know that I normally avoid carbs but considering we were about to undertake a fair amount of physical activity I didn’t think that some was going to kill me; remember carbohydrates should be relative to activity levels. Furthermore, the carbs in this banana loaf were fairly unrefined, meaning that there was still a decent amount of dietary fibre remaining, plus the bananas have some vitamins and minerals.

So I had a bit of a look into the scientific literature to see if I could find anything interesting to tell you about research that has been conducted on bananas. It turns out that ripe bananas or Musa acuminata, contain an interesting lectin termed BanLec. Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins. BanLec binds to mannose structures, a carbohydrate that is found in abundance on the surface of the HIV-1 virus. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, which is quite a reputable journal, showed that BanLec could inhibit viral replication of various subtypes of HIV-1. It was found that this lectin blocked HIV entry into host cells (1). A more recent study showed that BanLec prevented infection of tobacco plants with tobacco mosaic virus (2).

I am certainly not suggesting that you can prevent infection with HIV by eating bananas, I just found this interesting and there is potential to isolate BanLec and use it as an anti-HIV vaginal microbicide. I wondered, however, about the side effects from using lectins as treatment options, as I a lot of my research involves looking at carbohydrates or glycans and their interactions. It has been reported that BanLec has mitogenic properties (3), meaning it promotes cell division, which could lead to cancer. However, it may be possible to modify BanLec to prevent this action.

Anyway, despite the presence of BanLec, this High protein banana loaf made with rolled oats, whey protein powder and egg, as well as cinnamon and coconut essence for flavour, was a tasty snack full of energy and protein.

Protein banana loafHigh protein banana loaf

Makes 1 small loaf


1 ½ cup rolled oats

2 bananas

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

40 grams (about 2 scoops) of a good quality vanilla whey protein powder

½ cup coconut milk

1 egg

½ teaspoon coconut essence


Measuring cups and spoons

Large mixing bowl


Food processor


Loaf pan (I used a non-stick silicone loaf pan)


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C. Mash the bananas with a fork in the large mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 cup of the oats to a food processor and process until a flour-like texture is achieved.
  • Add the oat flour plus the remaining ½ cup of oats (or process all the oats if you prefer a finer textured loaf) along with the baking powder, cinnamon and whey protein powder to the mixing bowl and mix well to combine the ingredients.
  • Add in the coconut milk, egg and coconut essence and mix well to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into your loaf pan and bake in the oven 160°C for about 30 minutes or until the loaf feels firm on top. Allow the loaf to cool before removing from the pan and slicing.
  1. Swanson MD, Winter HC, Goldstein IJ, & Markovitz DM (2010) A lectin isolated from bananas is a potent inhibitor of HIV replication. The Journal of biological chemistry 285(12):8646-8655.
  2. LIu X-Y, Li H, & Zhang W (2014) The lectin from Musa paradisiaca binds with the capsid protein of tobacco mosaic virus and prevents viral infection. Biotechnol Biotechnol Equip 28(3):408-416.
  3. Gavrovic-Jankulovic M, et al. (2008) A novel recombinantly produced banana lectin isoform is a valuable tool for glycoproteomics and a potent modulator of the proliferation response in CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ populations of human PBMCs. The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 40(5):929-941.

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