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Ripe Or Unripe Banana - Which Is Better For You?

Written and reviewed by
BSc - Dietitics / Nutrition, PG Diploma In Dietitics & Hospital Food Service
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Mumbai  •  15 years experience
Ripe Or Unripe Banana - Which Is Better For You?

When it comes to bananas, most of us just grab them on the go; after all, as they are everyone's favorite fruit and the perfect 100-calorie goody. So, how do you pick your banana fruit? Because, when you look at this fruit, you either think that, 'oh, it’s too ripe' or 'too green'. A banana has two major stages, ripe and unripe. The nutritional value of a banana actually changes as it ripens? Different maturity stages of bananas give different health benefits to your body. 

Also, a banana gradually ripens, they become sweeter in taste.  But, why does this change happen? It happens because there are enzymes in the banana that breakdown into starch, which isn't sweet in nature, into a new substance called sugar. These changes makes the banana easily digestible. 

Let's determine the right stage at which the bananas should be consumed:

Features of ripe banana

Ripe bananas are yellow in color and often feature brown or black spots on their surface.

Pros of consuming ripe bananas

  • As compared to unripe bananas, ripe bananas are sweeter and better in taste.
  • They contain around 8 percent starch and about 91 percent sugar
  • The resistant starch present in unripe bananas changes into simple sugar form as the bananas ripen.
  • Yellow bananas are easy to digest since they have a higher glycemic index as compared to unripe bananas
  • When the bananas ripen fully, they produce a substance called Tumor Necrosis Factor or TNF and this compound is known for its anti-cancer qualities
  • Ripe bananas also have a high level of antioxidants which offer a host of benefits right from boosting your gut health to improved skin

Cons of consuming ripe bananas

  • According to some studies, bananas tend to lose some of their micronutrients as they ripen.
  • Since ripe bananas are sweeter than unripe ones, they are unsuitable for people affected with Type 2 diabetes.

Unripe bananas

Features of bananas 

Unripe bananas are waxy and green

Pros of consuming unripe bananas

  • One of the most excellent benefits of unripe bananas is that they are rich in resistant starch content.
  • Unripe bananas are ideal for people suffering from high blood sugar levels. Therefore, if you have diabetes but like bananas, then you should stick to unripe bananas.
  • They are incredibly rich in probiotic bacteria, which is necessary for maintaining gut and colon health.
  • Moreover, green bananas can absorb nutrients like calcium much better, and therefore they are always a good option for health-conscious people.

Cons of consuming unripe bananas

  • They contain around 40 percent starch.
  • They are bitter and due to their low glycemic index makes them difficult to digest
  • The level of antioxidants increases as the fruit ages and therefore, unripe bananas are low in terms of their antioxidant content as compared to the ripe variety.
  • Green bananas are also known to cause bloating and gas formation owing to higher resistant starch content.

All in all, both types of bananas come with a set of benefits. If you don’t have any existing medical condition, you should alternate between both variants to enjoy their respective health benefits. But in case you have diabetes, it is best to avoid ripe bananas. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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