The regular consumption of this popular fruit may be the secret to a long and healthy life.
One of the fruits most consumed in the world today originate in India and was carried West by Arab merchants in the 3rd century BC, but it was only in 1834 that bananas became an industrial crop, and became popular in the late 1880’s.
Though their popularity stemmed originally from their flavor and creamy texture, today bananas are prized for their nutritional value. Packed with vitamins and other nutrients, bananas are recommended as a supplier of 'good' sugars and carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, and copper.
Now scientists have discovered that bananas' nutritional values vary throughout the ripening process. As the skins go from green to brown, firm to soft, spots or no spots, a banana's virtues can be identified.
1. Unripe and Green Bananas
Green bananas are hard to digest unless they’re cooked but have a low glycemic index value — perfect for people who need to monitor their sugar intake. Unripe bananas also provide the stomach with probiotics, which strengthens the immune system. Green bananas contain a resistant starch that improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels.
Green bananas have fewer antioxidants than more mature bananas.
2. Firm and Yellow
Yellow, firm bananas are sweet and ripe. Pale yellow bananas contain a lot of antioxidants that protect the body from diseases, aging, ailments, and heart problems. A medium-sized ripe banana also provides 37 mg of magnesium, an important mineral that helps the brain stay healthy
3. Spotted Banana
Spotted bananas contain the valuable tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. TNF inhibitors are cell signaling proteins that fight cancer and abnormal cells in the body, but more research is needed in this area. A Japanese study from 2008 showed that spotted bananas produce this substance. The more spotty, the greater the volume of TNF inhibitors the banana contains. Overripe bananas easy to digest, but because they’re sweeter, they’re not recommended for diabetics.
4. Brown Bananas
Not many people like brown bananas, but these have the have the highest concentration of antioxidants, also easy on the stomach and perfect for people with digestive problems.
All Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan, a substance that converts into serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a signaling substance that is commonly referred to as the body’s happiness hormone, they are also rich in potassium, which protects the heart.
The fruit contains three natural sugars — sucrose, fructose, and glucose — in combination with fiber which makes it a perfect source of nutrition.