Are Green Bananas Good For Your Gut?Monday Oct 16, 2023
Did you know that bananas are great for your gut?
You might usually reach for the sunnier-hued ripe versions but green bananas, while less sweet and starchy than ripe bananas, can indeed be good for your gut health. That's bananas! you say. How exactly do green bananas help your microbiome?Not only are bananas one of the foods that taste as delicious as they are beneficial for your body, bananas contain superfood ingredients like vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They are dense in fiber and contain resistant starch content. They're one of the best fruits you can eat for gut health. So when you're shopping for fruit and grabbing green(ish) bananas to ripen at home, try consuming a few while they're still verdant and under-ripe.
What's the difference between green and yellow bananas?
Green bananas are simply unripe regular bananas (unless they're plantains, which are different but incredibly similar in many ways, but usually prepared and cooked as part of many central and South American dishes). Bananas are harvested prior to ripening with the aim to reach peak golden ripeness by the time they reach their second to final destination - the grocery store.
The taste of green bananas can be more bitter, with a slightly fresh and sour aftertaste. Their texture is more firm than yellow ripe bananas and there is a noticeably higher starch content and less sugar than when they ripen further.
How to eat green bananas
Green bananas can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on your preference. Cooking them can increase nutrient absorption, which if you're eating them for gut health can be an added benefit to consider while planning your meals.
What are the health benefits of green bananas?
In addition to being high in vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, B6, plus potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper, they also contain a few more important health boosters:
- High in fiber (fiber is a prebiotic): Specifically, green bananas are high in resistant starch and pectin, which are great for digestion, relieving symptoms like bloating, gas, and constipation, and gut health overall.
- Helps to keep you feeling full (which can aid in weight loss).
- They may be able to help manage blood sugar levels.
- Their hydrating nature has benefits for your skin - plus the skins are very high in antioxidants and there's some evidence that applying the peel directly to your face can yield desirable beauty results.
What do these collective benefits mean for your gut?
1. Improved digestive health
Both pectin and resistant starch (prebiotic fiber) in green bananas serve as nourishment for the “good ” bacteria in your gut. Resistant starch doesn't get broken down by your digestive system during digestion. It instead performs similarly to soluble fiber, which also doesn't get broken down. Both resistant starch and soluble fiber possess many of the same health benefits, including improved digestion and overall gut health. In fact, research shows resistant starch to reduce the risk of irritable bowel syndrome (often confused with SIBO), colon cancer, and diabetes, just to name a few things.
Pectin is also a type of starch commonly found in beans and fruit and is especially abundant in unripened fruit. As the fruit matures (i.e. as the bananas ripen turn yellow), the pectin content decreases.
As resistant starch and pectin move through your digestive system, they ferment, resulting in two primary byproducts: butyrate and short-chain fatty acids - two more powerhouse ingredients which have been shown to have tremendous benefits for your gut health.
2. Weight regulation
Not only is fiber beneficial for digestion and preventing constipation (check out these natural stool softeners for resources if its currently too late to prevent constipation), foods high in fiber are also super filling. Considering the fact that green bananas come packed with fiber, they're a great snack if your goal is weight loss. When you can find ways to stay full, satisfied, and not overeat, it makes weight regulation a whole lot easier.
3. Blood sugar
3. They may be good for . Once again we're referring back to the MVPs of green bananas—resistant starch and pectin. These are key in the regulation of blood sugar, research indicates the resistant starch and pectin in green bananas may help stabilize blood sugar levels. Also, green bananas are much lower on the glycemic index than yellow bananas.
4. Skin health benefits
This is probably one of the least talked about green banana benefits but they should be recognized for the positive impact they can have on your skin. Vitamins A, B6, and C (which green bananas contain) are the foundation to maintaining healthy and hydrated skin.
Green bananas, do they appeal?(pun intended)
Now that we've unpeeled the mysteries of green vs yellow bananas, how about you give the green bananas a try?If green bananas just aren't your thing there are easier ways to obtain their benefits - but what's easier than un-peeling a banana? Taking one probiotic and or prebiotic pill per day.