Green bananas are the unripe cousins of the yellow bananas and differ from them in terms of taste, texture, and composition. Like yellow bananas, they are loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc that provide numerous benefits such as weight loss, diabetes management, regulating blood sugar, etc.
Difference Between Yellow Banana And Green Banana
- Initially, banana peels are green (unripe) but they later change to yellow once the fruit is ripened.
- Because of their low sugar content, green bananas are slightly bitter. Yellow bananas are generally sweet due to the high sugar in them.
- Green bananas have a firm and waxy texture, while yellow bananas are soft and mushy.
- Green bananas are a rich source of resistant starch and fiber. During the ripening stage, these compounds convert to sugar to give a sweet taste to the bananas.
Green Banana Nutrition
Both yellow bananas and green bananas have similar nutrition profiles, but several factors such as maturation stage, local production, and growing conditions may influence the nutritional value.
A medium-sized green or yellow banana contains 2.6 grams of fiber, 22.84 grams of carbohydrates, 358 grams of potassium, 5 mg of calcium, 27 mg of magnesium, 22 micrograms of lutein, and zeaxanthin,8.7 mg of calcium,8 gram of vitamin C and 20 micrograms of folate. About 80 percent of the carbohydrate content of green bananas is resistant to starch and complex carbohydrates.
Health Benefits Of Green Bananas
Some major benefits of green bananas are as follows.
(1) Good For Digestive Health
Green banana is good for the stomach and improves our digestive health.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in green banana protect our digestive system from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, and stomach cancer, etc.
The laxative properties of dietary fibers in green bananas improve bowel movement, aids in stool elimination, and thus relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
The dietary fibers in the green bananas act as a prebiotic for the gut to improve and aids in breaking down resistant starch and complex carbohydrates. Dietary fibers help the gut bacteria in the production of butyrate and short-chain fatty acids.
The therapeutic benefit of banana benefit children with recurring diarrhea. As per a study conducted on rats, a green banana may be useful against mucosal lesions in the stomach.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate, etc also improves our digestive health.
(2) Lowers Blood Pressure Level
Potassium, a vital mineral in a green banana is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus provides relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension is a silent killer that affects millions of people around the world and gives rise to various health problems like severe headaches, nose bleed, chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, vision problems, and blood in urine, etc.
Zinc and magnesium in green bananas also aid in regulating high blood pressure.
Consume green banana in moderation as over-intake of potassium may lower the blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
If you are already on blood pressure medication, then consult with your doctor before adding green banana to your diet to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
(3) Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Because of its low glycemic index of 30, green banana slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar level, and helps in managing diabetes.
The dietary fibers like pectin and resistant starch in the green banana slow down the rate at which sugar gets absorbed by the bloodstream and helps in controlling blood sugar levels. These compounds improve insulin metabolism in diabetic patients.
Green banana flour is good for people with insulin sensitivity.
Consume green banana in moderation as overeating it may drop the blood sugar to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypoglycemia with symptoms like shakiness, dizziness, excessive sweating, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, confusion, and irritability or moodiness.
If you are on diabetic medication, consult your doctor before adding green bananas to your diet to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
(4) Helps With Weight Management
Eating 100 grams of green banana provides 105 calories of energy.
Although it is on the higher side, green bananas can still help in weight management as they contain high dietary fibers and resistant starch that provide stomach satiety controls our urge to eat again and again, and thus controls overeating which is a prime cause of obesity.
Green banana also contains about 75 percent water that contributes to weight management as it reduces calorie overload, controls overeating, improves digestion, and increases absorption of nutrients.
Green banana flour lowers hunger-related hormones and regulates insulin levels ( glucose homeostasis).
As per studies conducted on women with above-average weight, green banana flour improves lipid profile and reduces inflammation.
(5) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Green banana is good for the heart and improves our cardiovascular health.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc in green bananas protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage and improves its efficiency.
Dietary fibers in green bananas reduce LDL cholesterol and thus minimizes the risk of atherosclerosis which is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems.
Potassium in it relaxes our blood vessels and controls hypertension or high blood pressure which is a major cause of several cardiovascular and other health problems.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, etc in green banana also contribute to our cardiovascular health.
(6) Improves Growth And Development of Probiotic Bacteria
Dietary fibers like pectin and resistant starch present in the green banana make as an excellent food for friendly gut bacteria.
These compounds aids in the growth and development of probiotic bacteria that facilitate proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food. They are also effective against diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, etc.
(7) Prevents And Treats Diarrohea
Green banana not only helps with constipation but is equally beneficial for the prevention and treatment of diarrhea.
The anti-microbial properties of green banana combats against bacterias such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella, and parasitic infections like Cryptosporidium enteritis, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia lamblia responsible for causing diarrhea.
Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in green bananas also help against diarrhea.
Green bananas also relieve diarrhea symptoms such as nausea headache, abdominal cramps, and fatigue, etc.
For treating diarrhea, cooked green banana is preferred over raw green banana.
(8) Good For Metabolism
Essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals present in the green banana improve metabolism and the resistant starch in it gives our body a stable and complex carbohydrate base. Green banana enhance our metabolism and our body burn more calories.
(9) Good For Skin & Hair
The benefits of green bananas are not just limited to health and they are equally beneficial for our skin and hair.
Vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in green banana protect our skin and hair follicles from free radical damage, and thus minimizes the risk of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc and as well as premature greying of hair and other hair problems like dryness of hair, split ends, hair loss, dullness of hair, etc.
Vitamin C enhances the production of collagen, an amino acid that maintains skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles and saggy skin.
The detoxifying properties of dietary fibers in green banana eliminates toxins, pollutants, impurities and other unwanted substances from our skin pores, and prevents them from getting clogged up in the pores of our skin and scalp. This minimizes the risk of acne and scalp acne.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium and B vitamins, etc also play a significant role in keeping our skin, hair, and scalp healthy.
(10) Good For Kidneys
Green banana is good for the kidneys and improves their functioning.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in green banana protect our kidneys from free radical damage and improve the efficiency of kidneys.
Dietary fibers like pectin and resistant starch eliminate toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from our system, and thus reduces the burden of detoxification from our vital organs like the liver and kidneys to some extent.
This improves kidney efficiency and allows them to focus on other functions they need to perform. Some of these functions are regulating blood pressure, production of red blood cells, improving bone health, and maintaining the pH of the body.
Resistant starch reduces harmful bacterial metabolites and slows down the progression of chronic kidney disease.
(11) Strengthens Immune System.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in green banana protect our immune cells or the white blood cells from free radical damage and thus strengthens our immune system.
Our immune system is the defense mechanism of the body that aids in the prevention and treatment of various microbial infections, diseases, and as well as injuries, and wounds.
Vitamin C in green bananas enhances the production of white blood cells, and further strengthens our immunity.
When our immune system is strong, we are less likely to get a cough, cold, fever, and flu diminishes significantly.
The anti-microbial properties of green bananas fight against various bacterial, viral, and parasitical infections.
Other nutrients like zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folate, etc in green bananas also contribute to better immune health.
(12) Good Source Of Resistant Starch
Green bananas are an excellent source of resistant starch which is not easily broken down or digested by our stomach. However, the good bacteria present in our intestines convert them to short-chain fatty acids like butyrate that aids in cholesterol management, and also improves symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Can Green Bananas Cause Any Side Effects?
In general, green banana is a safe fruit to be eaten by the majority. However, there are few exceptions
- People with a sensitive stomach may experience allergic reactions like stomach discomfort, abdominal pain, gas and bloating, etc on consuming a green banana.
- People with latex allergies are highly likely to be allergic to green bananas due to the presence of certain proteins in them. This phenomenon is known as latex fruit syndrome. For such individuals, a cooked banana is preferred over a raw green banana as cooking disintegrates the allergen protein.
How To Eat Green Bananas
Green bananas can be consumed in different ways such as.
- As an ingredient for smoothies and yogurts.
- Can be cooked as a vegetable.
- Can be covered with chocolate and refrigerated.
- Green banana flour can be used for making pasta
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Carbs In Green Banana?
Yes, green bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrates.
Resistant starch and dietary fibers are the major forms of carbs in green bananas.
Can people with diabetes eat green bananas?
Yes, but in moderation and after consulting with your doctor to eliminate the risk of food-drug intolerance.
Because of its low glycemic index of 30, green banana slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream and aids in regulating blood sugar levels.
Dietary fibers in it also help with diabetes as they reduce the absorption of sugar by the bloodstream.
Can People With Celiac Disease Eat Green Banana?
Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is the immune reaction to eating gluten and may cause symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headaches, unexplained weight loss, and lethargy, etc.
Like most fruit, green bananas are naturally gluten-free and can be consumed by people with celiac disease without any worry.
Green banana flour can be used for making pasta, bread, and cakes.
Are green bananas hard to digest?
The resistant starch in green bananas makes them a little harder to digest in comparison to yellow bananas. However, the friendly bacterias in our intestines break down the resistant starch into short-chain fatty acids like butyrate that helps with cholesterol management, provides energy to gut cells, reduces stomach inflammation, regulates blood sugar, and combat obesity.
Are green bananas high in iron?
Iron is a vital mineral and performs various functions in our body such as provides oxygenated blood to cells, converts blood sugar to energy, boost the immune system, aids cognitive functions, supports healthy skin, hair and nails.
The deficiency of iron may cause anemia and other health problems.
On average, a green banana weighing 100 grams provides 0.26 mg of iron.
The daily requirement of iron is 8.7 mg per day for men over 18 and 14.8 mg per day for women aged 19 to 50.
To fulfill this requirement, both men and women will need to eat 34 and 57 bananas which is overkill.
It is better to fulfill the iron requirement through other iron-rich food sources like green leafy vegetables like spinach, dried fruits like raisins and apricots, beans, seafood, red meat, and iron-fortified cereals.
Is Green Banana Good Or Bad For Constipation
For most individuals, green bananas help with constipation. However, there might be few exceptions.
The laxative properties of resistant starch and dietary fibers like pectin in green banana improve bowel movement, ensure smooth elimination of stool and thus provide relief from constipation and other digestive problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
However, people with sensitive digestion may find it difficult to digest the complex carbohydrates of green bananas and may experience digestive problems like constipation, abdominal pain, and indigestion, etc on eating green bananas. The severity of it may vary from person to person.
If you experience any pain or discomfort after eating green bananas, then discontinue the use.
How long do green bananas last?
Green banana ripens to yellow banana in about 3 to 5 days.
How much sugar does a green banana have?
A green banana weighing around 100 grams provides around 12 grams of sugar.
The majority of it is resistant starch.
How many bananas can someone with diabetes eat per day?
Although green banana is good for diabetic patients and aids in regulating blood sugar level, it is better to be on the safe side and limit the consumption to one or two bananas per day.
Excessive consumption may drop the blood sugar to an abnormally level giving rise to symptoms such as weakness, blurred vision, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, and tiredness, etc.
If you are already on diabetic medication, then consult your doctor to eliminate food-drug intolerance risk.
What are the benefits of eating boiled green bananas?
Boiling green bananas break down the complex carbohydrates present in green bananas, and make them easier to digest.
In some parts of Asia green banana is cooked as a vegetable. Heating breaks down the complex carbohydrates and as well disintegrates the allergen protein responsible for causing latex fruit syndrome in some individuals.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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