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Bananas - Are they good or bad?

There are two types of people in the world, those that love brown bananas and those that don't. Which is better? Green or Brown and does it make any just might make more difference than you realise

The main difference between a brown banana and a green banana is what happens to the carbohydrate portion of the banana during the ripening process:-

When a banana is green it is almost entirely starch, a carbohydrate, and in the case of a banana it is "resistant starch" which acts like soluble fibre in the body and great for the bowel and can help with bowel function.

Green bananas have been used by people and children in the past to help with constipation as the resistant starch helps to create bulk to the stools and move things along.

As the banana ripens the starch is converted to simple sugars and as a result they will increase blood sugar levels much quicker as they have a higher glycemic index.

A brown banana is sweeter and handy to use in cooking as they are easier to mush. As the bananas lose the greener colour, they are in fact breaking down chlorophyll which raises the level of antioxidants in the fruit.

What about NUTRITION

Ripe bananas begin to lose nutrients (but storing them in the fridge is shown to help slow this process down).

Bananas are high in Phosphorus, Vitamins, Potassium and Magnesium. Bananas have fibre and are a handy snack.

As bananas ripen, they still contain the same nutrients, but the carbohydrate changes from resistant starch to simple sugars. Some people will find brown bananas easier to digest and others will struggle to digest anything other than greener bananas.

In summary

If you have diabetes, be mindful that those brown bananas may peak your blood sugar levels higher more quickly, so eating bananas sooner after purchase will help reduce the chances of them ripening too quickly.

If you are on a low FODMAP diet, the resistant starch of the greener bananas may be easier on the symptoms of IBS.

Eating bananas in moderation will help improve some bowel bacteria levels which can in turn have other positive impacts upon your health.

For those with Kidney disease, and on some medications, it is easy to listen to advice claiming that the amount of potassium in bananas is a problem. My advice here is to speak to someone who can help guide you in your diet and the whole list of foods containing vitamins and minerals that may be a problem, and in fact whether you are in a position where you need to make major changes to your diet at all.

The most important thing is to enjoy bananas as a snack, in a smoothie, chopped up in a salad, or on cereal, or even in some savoury meals and when in doubt speak to a dietitian.



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