The Best Time To Eat A Banana – Is it healthier to eat a banana while it’s fresh or when it’s ripe?
Did you know that the nutritional properties of bananas change as they ripen? Have you noticed that the taste of bananas change as they ripen? Now, have you ever wondered when the right time to eat a banana is? Should it be all green, mostly green, mostly yellow, or yellow with black spots starting to develop? Interestingly enough, there is a “right” time to eat a banana. First, it is important to understand some of the health benefits bananas have to offer.
One medium banana (about 126 grams) is considered to be one serving. One serving of banana contains 110 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals:¹
- Vitamin B6 – .5 mg
- Manganese – .3 mg
- Vitamin C – 9 mg
- Potassium – 450 mg
- Dietary Fiber – 3g
- Protein – 1 g
- Magnesium – 34 mg
- Folate – 25.0 mcg
- Riboflavin – .1 mg
- Niacin – .8 mg
- Vitamin A – 81 IU
- Iron – .3 mg
The vitamins and minerals contained in bananas help benefit your body in several different ways. First, bananas help promote a health heart. They help regulate blood pressure and maintain proper cholesterol levels. Bananas help promote healthy, regular digestion. The fiber and minerals in bananas keep you digestive tract regular and promote healthy bacteria in your intestines. Bananas can play an important role in maintaining healthy bones. The calcium and minerals that help the body absorb calcium more efficiently promotes healthy bones. Finally, among various other health benefits, bananas help protect your eyes and vision. The vitamin A contained in bananas helps protect the membrane in your eyes and helps maintain good vision. These are just some of the many health benefits you get from including bananas in your diet. However, it is important to make sure you are eating the banana at the right time to ensure that you are getting all of these benefits.
Many people are wondering about when it’s the best time to eat a banana. Interestingly, the nutritional profile of bananas changes as they ripen. You may have noticed that the more ripe your banana is, the sweeter it tastes. This happens because enzymes in the banana’s tissues are breaking down starch into simple sugars. The starch is not very sweet, but as it breaks down into a simple sugar it becomes sweeter. This is why you may see a spike in your blood sugar after eating a ripen banana. The ripen banana has already converted the starch to simple sugar, thus your body does not need to do this process, so the sugar from the banana is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.
UNRIPE BANANAS (The Greener the Banana)
Benefits: One benefit of green bananas is the high resistant starch content. The green bananas do not have the same level of sugar as yellow bananas do. Those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes can eat the unripe fruit while maybe ripened bananas are not as compatible. Unripe bananas also have pro-biotic bacteria, a friendly bacterium that helps with good colon health. In addition, green bananas also help you absorb nutrients better, particularly calcium.
Drawbacks: Since a banana increases its antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, eating an unripened banana means you miss out on these health benefits.
RIPE BANANAS (The Yellower the Banana)
Benefits: There are some benefits to eating a ripe banana. First, your body does not have to convert the starch into simple sugar, so it is easier to digest. Researchers have shown that the antioxidant and anti-cancer properties in banana increase as it ripens. Fully ripened bananas, bananas with dark patches on yellow skin, produce TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor), which has the ability to combat abnormal cells. The more darker patches the banana has, the higher the immunity enhancement quality; which means the riper the banana the better the anti-cancer quality. Yellow skin bananas with dark spots are eight times more effective in enhancing the property of white blood cells than green skin version.
Drawbacks: There are some micronutrients that are lost when a banana ripens. To lessen the amount of vitamins and minerals lost, its better to store and ripen bananas in the refrigerator. Also ripened banana does cause the surge in blood sugar levels.
The Bottom Line: There are benefits on both sides. You could eat unripened bananas or ripened bananas and get the benefits of either one. If you are not type-2 diabetic, then the antioxidant and anti-cancer benefits are something worth considering.
1. Medical News Today, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271157.php