I love the bitter taste and waxy texture of green bananas. My husband, on the other hand, prefers soft, sweet, yellow bananas (the more brown spots, the better). The physical difference between ripe and unripe bananas is obvious, but is there a nutritional difference?
YES! The bitter taste of green (unripe) bananas comes from resistant starch, and the sweet taste of yellow bananas develops as resistant starch breaks down into sugar. So, unripe bananas have more resistant starch and ripe bananas have more simple sugar. But, which is best?
Like the name implies, resistant starch RESISTS digestion. Resistance starch does not get into the blood stream and won’t raise blood sugar as much as the simple sugar in ripe bananas. Resistant starch also slows digestions, making us feel full, which is great for managing blood sugars and weight.
If your body isn’t used to resistance starch, though, you may experience gas, bloating, and tummy discomfort as your gut tries to figure out what to do with it. Add resistance starch slowly, and drink more water to avoid this possible side effect.
Ok, so what about the yellow ones? As resistance starch breaks down into simpler sugar, digestion becomes easier. This can help soothe an upset stomach and is better if you have a “finicky” gut.
Additionally, antioxidants, which defend against cancer, increase as fruits ripen. Yellow bananas have more antioxidants than green bananas and research shows that ripe bananas have Tumor Necrosis Factor (NCF), which also fights cancer and increases immunity.
In looking at the comparison, it is hard to say that either options completely trumps the other! Both green and yellow bananas have benefits, so the choice is up to you! Bitter or sweet?