Next time you have a craving for sweets, grab a banana. They’re packed with so many important nutrients, are antioxidant rich and will keep you feeling satisfied for longer than a processed sweet. Whether you prefer them younger and less ripe (think more green in its skin) or aged and spotted, you can enjoy benefits of bananas at every stage. Here’s a breakdown.
🍌When young and more green, the banana contains more starch. This makes its texture more dense and thus, gives you more of the feeling of satiety. There are more nutrients in this stage since they have not had time to diminish; however, antioxidant levels are smaller. The starch in young bananas, though they will make you feel fuller, can also lead to more bloating. So if you’re sensitive in this area, wait a bit for them to ripen. Bananas are also going to be less sweet at this stage, but lower in GI index. They will resist heat at this stage, so they’re excellent for cooking, as in the case of green plantains - try roasting them or heating in an air fryer for a crispy snack.
🍌As they start to yellow and then brown, the starch converts to sugar, and you end up with a softer, sweeter banana. This also means that with less starch, they’ll be easier on your digestive system. With age, bananas will lose some of their nutrient content, BUT they develop more antioxidant power the riper they get. Ripe bananas are a fantastic immune booster for this reason. Since bananas are sweet and soft at this stage, use them as a natural sweetener - mash them and use them in baked goods, or freeze them and process them into “n’ice” cream. I actually like bananas best in this state. I use them by cutting them up and putting into oatmeal since it naturally sweetens, or my favorite - as a binder for pancakes.
So.. where on the spectrum do you prefer your bananas, more green or more brown??