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Strange Surprise: Eating Unripe Bananas Benefits Blood Sugar and Gut Health

You can cook them to get all the perks!


While we usually wait for bananas to ripen and enjoy as a naturally sweet treat, it turns out that unripe green bananas pack a whole lot of health punch. Translation: Eating green bananas can help keep our blood sugar in check, maintain gut health, and curb excessive eating.

Are green bananas the same as regular bananas?

If bananas aren’t at their peak when we first buy them, we usually let them sit on the counter for a couple days until the bright yellow hue that indicates ripeness appears. By then, however, most of the banana’s resistant starch (RS) has turned into sugar and can cause blood glucose to spike.

Conversely, cooking and eating bananas when they’re still green and starchy — which gives them a more savory flavor — will has major health benefits, and might even spice up your cooking routine a bit, too.

“When your body has to break down the starch itself (as it does when you eat a green banana), your blood sugar rises more slowly,” David L. Katz, MD, shared with The slower digestion and absorption rate makes green bananas a perfect diabetic-friendly dish. The RS and fiber content breaking down gradually will also help you feel fuller for longer, eliminating unnecessary snacking and possible weight gain.

What are the other health benefits of eating green bananas?

Unripe bananas are also a great source of prebiotics. According to a study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, the high starch content helps feed good bacteria in your gut, which promotes a healthy immune system and digestive tract.

Now that you know all the benefits of eating unripe bananas, you’re probably wondering how to prepare them so you can get those benefits. (Don’t worry. You don’t need to peel ’em and and pop ’em into your mouth like you would ripe yellow bananas.) The experts at suggest cooking unripe bananas like plantains or potatoes: mashed, fried, or added to a stew.

Of course, whichever level of ripeness you choose, there’s no denying bananas are a yummy and healthy snack to enjoy any time of the day!

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