Bananas are a popular fruit grown all around the world and enjoyed mainly as a raw dessert. Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations.
Most of us are familiar with the yellow, ripe version of this fruit. Sometimes referred to as a desert banana. However, very yellow bananas are rich in carbohydrates that very quickly breakdown into sugar, affecting blood glucose levels. As a result, most weight loss programs do not include ripe bananas in their recommended diet.
Bananas with a slightly green coloration also obviously have carbohydrates, but in the form of resistant starch that is a lot harder for us to digest. As a result, they can bring you all the nutritional benefits of yellow bananas, but without the problematic sugars.
Nutritional Value of Slightly Green Bananas
- Bananas are a very rich source of natural potassium, with a single large fruit having as much as 600 mg of this important mineral.
- Each large banana contains around 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and 2 grams of sodium.
- Bananas are packed with minerals and vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and several of the B vitamins.
- Slightly unripe bananas have a lower glycemic index (GI) than ripe bananas. In some studies, they have shown a GI as low as 30, while most ripe yellow bananas have a score of around 50.
- A medium-sized slightly green banana has just over 100 calories, making it ideal for a quick snack with slow-release energy.
Health Benefits of Slightly Unripe Bananas
Bananas are believed to bring us several health benefits, including:
- Improved cardiovascular system
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Stable blood glucose levels
- Improved function of intestines and colon
- Weight loss
- Cancer prevention
The potassium in slightly green bananas is important in reducing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, and helping bone formation. The resistive starch helps to reduce the GI of slightly green bananas, while the fiber delays the release of food energy after digestion. Together, this helps to avoid sudden changes in blood sugar levels. Fiber is also great at removing harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Some studies have indicated that short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in green bananas improve the functioning of the intestine and colon. This helps in better absorption of nutrients in food and may also prevent colonic cancer.
Storage and Preparation
While many cultures fry slightly green bananas, this adds unhealthy fats. One option is to boil the unripe fruit and then mash it for easier digestion. Slightly green bananas are also great for use in smoothies and health shakes. The blending process helps to mash up the fruit without destroying the nutritional value or resistant starch.
Make sure you don’t try to eat bananas that are too unripe though. They are hard to peel, have a funny texture and a slightly bitter taste. Firm yellow bananas with just a hint of green at both ends seem to work for me.
I find buying them totally green, make sure they aren’t those green island bananas or plantains though, and ripening in your fruit bowl to your preferred preference is the way to go.
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