Eating green bananas may sound unappealing to many people, but there are a number of health benefits associated with these unripe fruits that may surprise you.
What are Green Bananas?
Green bananas are simply unripe yellow bananas that haven’t converted much of their resistant starch into more easily digestible sugars. This is usually what makes a banana unattractive to eat since green bananas tend to be more waxy and starchy in their consistency, and decidedly less sweet. Most bananas are green when they are picked, but they ripen gradually while being shipped.
Green bananas are high in protopectin, which gives off methylene gas and converts starch into digestible fiber over the course of the ripening process. Yellow bananas are lower in this particular type of resistant starch, which makes them easier for the body to digest. While it is perfectly safe to eat green bananas, most people are turned off by the taste, and therefore choose the traditional bananas they know and love. That being said, this fruit does have an impressive nutritional profile and a number of unique health benefits that may make it preferable for some people.
Nutritional Facts of Green Bananas
Green bananas contain a high content of resistant starch and short-chain fatty acids, as well as similar levels of key vitamins and minerals that are found in yellow bananas. These nutrients include potassium and sodium, as well as a decent amount of dietary fiber and even a small amount of protein. A single medium-sized green banana contains 81 calories, making it a filling, yet diet-friendly fruit.
Health Benefits of Green Bananas
The most important health benefits associated with green bananas include their ability to increase nutrient absorption, improve digestion, aid in weight loss, lower blood pressure, boost the metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels, among others.
Improve Nutrient Absorption
Green bananas can improve your overall colon health, thanks to the short-chain fatty acids found in them. Research has found that this type of fatty acid can improve your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, particularly calcium.
Regulate Blood Pressure
As with normal yellow bananas, green bananas are very high in the potassium content, which is an essential mineral in the body. Potassium functions as a vasodilator, which means that it can lower the tension and strain on blood vessels and arteries. This lowering of your blood pressure can help prevent conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Aid in Digestion
Although the high level of resistant starch in green bananas makes them slightly more difficult to digest, there is a good amount of fiber in bananas, meaning that these bananas are better than having no bananas at all! The fiber can help drive peristaltic motion and balance your bacterial levels in the gut, preventing constipation and bloating, when eaten in moderation.
The nutrients found in green bananas can help optimize the metabolism by providing a stable, complex carbohydrate base for energy. Rather than simple carbohydrates, these fruits can speed up the calorie-burning process in the body.
The resistant starch found in these bananas may be hard for the body to digest, but it is known to speed up the fat-burning processes in the body and will make you feel full faster, thus reducing overeating and unnecessary snacking.
Green bananas are known to be a good source of resistant starch. Instead of being digested, it proceeds to the small intesting where it ferments, making it an effective prebiotic. Not only does this improve gut health, but also helps maintain your glucose levels. On the other hand, a healthy gut also means better glycemic control.
Regulate Cholesterol Levels
The dietary fiber found in these bananas is known to regulate excess cholesterol by scraping it from arteries and blood vessels, which can lower your risk of atherosclerosis and heart attacks, as well as coronary heart disease.