Ripe vs unripe bananas — which is healthier?

    Image by Ian Ransley

    Some like ’em fresh and firm, others prefer them overripe and sweet. But how you like your bananas aside, did you know that the ripeness actually offers different health benefits?

    According to Simple Organic Life, the nutritional properties of bananas change as they grow riper. So, which is healthier — ripe or unripe bananas? Well, that depends on what your body actually needs.

    Greener bananas, for instance contain pro-biotic bacteria, which helps to promote good colon health, according to One Green Planet. They also help you absorb nutrients better, particularly calcium. However, one known drawback of unripe bananas is that they can cause bloating and gas due to higher levels of resistant starch content. The level of starch content is broken down as the banana ripens.

    This brings us to the benefits of eating ripe bananas. When enzymes in bananas start to break down starches into sugar as they ripen, the fruit becomes easier to digest. However, the higher sugar content in ripe bananas may be something Type 2 Diabetics want to avoid.

    A recent study by Japanese researchers reveals that the antioxidant levels in bananas increases as the fruit ripens. So the fruit becomes much more highly loaded with good antioxidants as they turn soft and spotty. Also, very ripe bananas produce a cancer-killing substance known as TNF or Tumor Necrosis Factor, and the more spotty the skin of your banana, the higher the level of TNF it contains. So you might not want to chuck out that banana simply because it doesn’t look its freshest.

    So there you go, now you can time when you want to chow down that banana according to the health benefits you want to reap from it. Quite a cool concept, don’t you think?

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