Although not classified as “superfood” like blueberries, bananas are assumed as one of the most important and popular crops in the world. Natively grown in Asia, this creamy-flesh fruit in yellow skin is consumed by the majority of people worldwide. Bananas are enriched with beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin b6, vitamin c, potassium, and slight calcium. The fruit is also loaded with carbohydrate, which is essential for your daily energy source.
Bananas are commonly categorized into unripe—or mostly, green—bananas, ripe—or yellow, and overripe—yellow with brown spots ones. Each of those are researched to contain quite different types and levels of carbohydrate.
Starch in unripe bananas
Unripe bananas, usually in green peel, are a great source of resistant starch. This type of starch has many benefits, yet it is quite difficult to get it from the diet, especially if the meals have been processed. Different from starch in grains, pasta, and potatoes, this resistant starch functions similarly to soluble fiber, that is to feed good bacteria in your gut and intestines. The starch increases the production of short-chain fatty acids, which are essential for digestion. In short, resistant starch refers to the starch we have eaten, yet are not digested.
A medium-sized unripe, green bananas contain a high level of resistant starch, which equals to approximately 70-80% of its dry weight. Compared to the other types of bananas, green bananas are considered the most beneficial for your digestion.
There are some benefits you can get from the carbs contained by unripe or green bananas. Firstly, green bananas contain resistant starch that is not easily digested. Since this carbs functions as a soluble fiber in your intestine, green bananas are very filling. This increased feeling of fullness after eating the fruit comes from a perfect combination of resistant starch and pectin in green bananas. Pectin itself refers to another type of fiber in green bananas that keeps the fruit flesh firm.
Green bananas’ resistant starch and pectin work together to slow down carbs absorption by the digestive system. This will inhibit the emptying of your stomach and consequently, make you eat less food. Thereby, green bananas could help with weight loss diet plan.
In addition to being advantageous for your digestive system, the nutrients—mainly starch in green bananas also have prebiotic effect. Instead of broken down in the intestines, the starch feeds the bacteria residing in your gut, producing butyrate and other beneficial short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids aid various digestive problems and help protect against colon cancer.
Sugar in ripe bananas
As bananas ripen, its carbohydrate content change into different types. While unripe bananas contain mostly resistant starch, the ripe one—usually comes in yellow contain different type of carbohydrate, which is sugar. A medium-sized ripe banana, weighing approximately 118 grams, contains 14 grams of sugar. This amount reaches about 53 percent of its total 105 calories.
However, this sugar contained by ripe bananas are not the types of sugar you need to avoid. Compared to added sugar you can find in other unnatural food sources, sugar in bananas are far more natural and therefore, definitely advantageous to your entire health.
The sugar in bananas is naturally occurring fructose combined with a low level of glucose, sucrose, and maltose. While added sugar may potentially increase your blood sugar level, this natural fructose does not likely to cause any complications. It is possible because fructose in bananas are occurring together with its natural fiber that aids considerably slow digestion. The occurrence of fiber prevents carbohydrate in ripe bananas from being digested into glucose very quickly. Hence, a blood sugar spike can be controlled.
In addition to its more naturally-occurring sugar, ripe bananas also contain dietary fiber, vitamin b-6 and c, folate, and potassium, which are all beneficial for your entire health.
Carbohydrate in overripe bananas
Although the nutrient content in bananas changes as it becomes ripe, this is not necessarily bad. Even the overripe bananas still have some beneficial nutrients for your body. Overripe bananas are loaded with antioxidants, which is good for your skin health.
When a banana gets overripe, the carbs contained in the fruit changes into simple sugars. Compared to both green and yellow, ripe bananas, this simple sugars in overripe bananas is very easy to digest. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, simple sugars in overripe bananas may cause a quicker rise in blood sugar. Therefore, overripe bananas are not recommended for diabetics, yet still beneficial for healthy persons.
Since overripe bananas contain a higher level of sugar compared to the unripe and ripe ones, they are sweeter and hence, more delicious. Those brown spots on the yellow jacket that occur as bananas get overripe could also kill cancerous and abnormal cells. As this type of banana is more delicious, overripe bananas are widely used in cakes and breads to add some fiber and taste.
Carbohydrate content in banana does change during its ripening phases. Although the resistant starch changes into sugar eventually during the process, each type of carbohydrate in bananas does have its own benefits to the health. Consuming green bananas might be more advantageous for those with health conditions. Yet, they tend to be more tasteless, if not bitter. Quite contradictory, ripe and overripe bananas might taste far better than the green ones, yet are not recommended for those with already-high blood sugar level, or diabetics.