Why You Should Eat Green Bananas
Dr. Kristie Leong
Of course, you’ve eaten a banana - but have you ever eaten a green banana? If not, maybe you should. Eating green bananas offers some advantages you won’t get from eating the ripe, yellow fruit. What are the health benefits of green bananas?
Green bananas aren’t a new exotic breed of fruit. They're the unripe version of the same old banana most people know and love. Green bananas are starchier, but the type of starch they contain is resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of starch that isn’t digested in the same way as most starches. Instead of being broken down, they pass through the intestines unchanged - which gives them the characteristics of an insoluble fibre.
Reap the Benefits of Resistant Starch
The resistant starch that comes from eating green bananas has some interesting health benefits. It may even help with the battle of the bulge. High fibre foods and foods that contain resistant starch increase satiety and reduce overall calorie consumption, probably due to their effects on digestion and satiety hormones.
According to one study, the resistant starch in green bananas increases the rate of fat burning by blocking the ability of the body to use carbohydrates as fuel. When the body can’t burn carbohydrates as fuel, it's forced to use fat instead. Foods high in resistant starch also increase insulin sensitivity, which can help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugars.
Another Reason to Eat Green Bananas
Resistant starch has another important function. It helps to keep the digestive tract healthy by acting as (food) for friendly, probiotic bacteria. These good intestinal bacteria ferment the resistant starch in green bananas and use it to make energy. This helps to drive away bad bacteria that can cause anything from a bad case of diarrhea to chronic colon problems. When resistant starch is fermented it produces short-chain fatty acids that help to keep the colon healthy, and, possibly, reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Another surprising benefit? The short-chain fatty acids produced by the fermentation of resistant starch increases the ability of the body to absorb nutrients - especially calcium.
Other Health Benefits of Green Bananas
All bananas are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium, and green bananas are no exception. People on low carb diets often avoid bananas because of their higher sugar content, but eating green bananas, in moderation, could have benefits for both dieters and diabetics.
Supporting Science & References:
* Study: Resistant starch and protein intake enhances fat oxidation and feelings of fullness in lean and overweight/obese women [Nutr J. 2015]
* Green Banana Fibres Could Give Noodles Nutrient Boost [Stephen Daniels, NutraIngredients, June/July 2008]
* Nature’s Fat Burning Breakthrough [Prevention]
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2010-2015. Dr. Kristie Leong is a family practice physician and medical writer. Published with permission.
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