Are bananas good for you? Of course they are, and it doesn’t matter if you eat a green banana or a yellow banana. However, if you don’t mind the taste, you want to keep blood sugar levels down and eat less, then go green. In fact, you may want to try both green and yellow bananas, as they have the same amount of calories.
Bananas are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. Most people eat bananas when they’re yellow and ripe, but green and unripe bananas are also safe to eat. However, some people dislike their taste and texture.
What then is the difference between the Green and Yellow Bananas?
Bananas are typically harvested while they’re still green. This helps ensure they don’t get too ripe before you buy them.
Therefore, you might see them in this color in the supermarket. Besides being different in color, green and yellow bananas differ in several ways:
Good Things about the Green Banana
Taste: Green bananas are less sweet. They’re actually quite bitter in taste but that’s not a bad thing though.
Texture: Green bananas are firmer than yellow bananas. Their texture has sometimes been described as waxy.
Composition: Green bananas are higher in starches. As bananas ripen and turn yellow, the starches transform into sugars.
As a banana ripens, its ‘resistant’ (complex) starches are slowly turned into sugar, so when eaten green you get a great deal more resistant starch and less sugar. This is good news for people with high blood sugar, because your body has to break down the starches to turn them into sugar (glucose) and as a result, blood sugar levels rise more slowly.
According to Nutrition Authority, Green bananas are also a good source of pectin. This type of dietary fiber is found in fruits and helps them keep their structural form. Pectin breaks down when a banana becomes overripe, which causes the fruit to become soft and mushy.
The resistant starch and pectin in green bananas can provide a number of health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and better digestive health.
Unripe bananas contain mostly starch, which makes up 70–80% of their dry weight (1).Much of that starch is resistant starch, which is not digested in the small intestine. Therefore, it’s often classified as dietary fiber.
However, bananas lose their starch as they ripen. During ripening, their starch is converted into simple sugars (sucrose, glucose and fructose). Interestingly, ripe bananas contain only 1% starch.
Not so Good Things about Green Bananas
Nothing is perfect, and you may notice that a green banana is not as tasty as a yellow one. Green bananas also may cause flatulence in some people. You may not receive as many antioxidants as you would with ripe bananas either. In addition to the other difference, you will agree that green bananas are harder to peel, while ripe bananas are easy to peel.
Benefits of the Yellow Banana
A ripened banana has many nutrients inside. In fact, it contains magnesium, potassium, vitamins, phosphorus, and lots of fiber. You receive a significant number of antioxidants which help with body’s cells fight off the ravages of aging.
Bananas may help to fight off certain kinds of cancer. A 2005 study in Sweden showed that fruits and vegetables (bananas included) may reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer. In fact, of all the fruits and vegetables used in the study, bananas showed the most impressive results.
Taste and texture are important factors to consider, too. After all, one is more likely to eat something that tastes good. A ripe yellow banana is sweet, soft, and has a pleasant taste.
Downsides of Yellow Bananas
There are not many bad things to say about a yellow banana. However, during the ripening process a few nutrients are lost. Plus, ripe bananas are moderately high on the glycemic index, and diabetics need to avoid too many sources of simple sugars, each day.
So, which will you pick next time you want to eat a banana?