When you eat bananas, you’re doing it because: a. you like the taste, b. you know they’re good for you, c. someone told you to, or d. all of the above.
As one of the healthiest snacks around, bananas pack in the potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and other nutrients. But did you know a banana’s peel could reveal benefits depending on its color? From green to spotty, firm to soft, as the banana’s skin changes, so does its inner content.
This sweet fruit is known for giving a quick glucose boost in between meals, but we all have our own levels of sweet toleration. While you sit there and evaluate your own personal preference for banana maturity, we’re going to run down what makes each stage good or not so good.
Young and Green
Green bananas are hard to peel with your bare hands and essentially taste like potato. Folks familiar with Caribbean cuisine know that many dishes make use of cooked green banana. Yum! What you may not be familiar with though, is that green bananas are lower on the glycemic index – perfect for those who need to monitor sugar levels.
The other great thing about unripe bananas is they give you a jolt of prebiotics to the gut. They contain what’s called resistant starch, a type of fiber that ferments in your intestines, feeding the good bacteria. Because it doesn’t break down through digestion, you don’t get sugar spikes.
Due to their starchy content, these green goodies will keep you feeling full longer. Boil them, mash them, or sauté them. The downside? These are very low in antioxidants, which increase as bananas ripen.
Firm and Yellow
Not quite spotty but yellow enough to eat, this stage of banana life is easy to digest and tastes sweet. Fully yellow bananas contain antioxidants which help protect the body against disease, aging woes, and inflammation.
Sugary sweet and antioxidant-rich, mature, spotted bananas are tumor-fighting powerhouses. Brown spots indicate the presence of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which help to break down abnormal cells in your body, including cancerous ones.
Easy on the stomach, they’re easily digestible and a great choice if you have ulcers or other tummy complaints. But because they’re sweeter, they increase the glucose in your blood. Not ideal for diabetics or others who need to watch their sugar intake.