When you eat a banana, you do it because: a) you like the taste, b) you know it’s good for you, c) someone gave you one or d), all of the above.
Bananas are packed with vitamins and other nutrients, and eating two a day can do wonders for your body.
But did you know that the color of a banana can reveal a lot about its nutritional content? From green to brown, firm to soft, spots or no spots — a banana’s appearance can tell a lot.
1. Unripe and green
Green bananas are hard to digest unless they’re cooked. But once cooked, they taste like potatoes and are quite delicious. People who are familiar with Caribbean cuisine know that green bananas are used in many dishes there.
But what you might not know, however, is that green bananas have a low glycemic index value — perfect for people who need to monitor their sugar intake.
Another good thing about unripe bananas is they provide the the stomach with probiotics, which also strengthens the immune system. And in addition, green bananas also contain resistant starch, a form of carbohydrates that improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels.
Because of their starch content, green bananas keep you feeling full for a long time and are helpful if you’re trying to losing weight. Boil them, mash them, or fry them.
The downside? Green bananas have fewer antioxidants than more mature bananas, as the antioxidants in bananas increase as the fruits ripen.
2. Firm and yellow
Most of us prefer our bananas yellow but not quite spotted. At this stage, bananas are sweet and ripe. Pale yellow bananas contain a lot of antioxidants that protect the body from diseases, aging, ailments, and heart problems.
A medium-sized ripe banana also provides 37 mg of magnesium, an important mineral that helps the brain stay fit.
Sweet, tasty and packed with antioxidants, spotted bananas pack a punch when it comes to fighting diseases.
The more brown spots a banana has, the more mature it is and the more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors it contains. TNF inhibitors are cell signaling proteins that fight cancer and abnormal cells in the body, but more research is needed in this area. A Japanese study from 2008 showed that spotted bananas produce this substance.
If you have a sensitive stomach, you’ll find overripe bananas easy to digest, but because they’re sweeter, they’re not great for diabetics or anyone who needs to watch their sugar intake.
Admittedly, not many people like eating brown bananas. But if you want to save some cash, you can usually get some good discounts on overripe bananas. Buy some and put them in a smoothie or make some banana bread.
When bananas are brown, they’re very sweet and have a high concentration of antioxidants. They’re also easy on the stomach and perfect if you have stomachache. You just need to make sure to eat brown bananas before they rot!
However ripe you like your bananas to be, they all have these benefits in common:
- They contain the amino acid tryptophan, a substance that converts into serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a signaling substance that is commonly referred to as the body’s happiness hormone.
- While bananas contain some sodium, they are also rich in potassium, which protects the heart.
- They contain high levels of vitamin B6, which some researchers believe helps relieve the symptoms of PMS.
- The fruit also contains three natural sugars — sucrose, fructose and glucose — in combination with fiber.
Since bananas lose some of their nutrients as they age, you can put them in the fridge to slow down their ripening process. Enjoy bananas in the morning, afternoon, or in the evening and discover the positive impact they can have on your health!