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The Health Benefits of Green Bananas

In Barbados, bananas are kind of a big deal….from green bananas to plantains to regular, yellow bananas – there seems to be no wrong way to consume this sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes black and yellow spotted fruit. And believe me when I tell you that I’ve eaten bananas a ton of different ways. From banana mayonnaise sandwiches and peanut butter banana sandwiches to fried plantains and the green banana recipe I’m about to share – bananas are delicious and generally good for you.

4 Body Benefits of Green Bananas

Green bananas are nothing more than yellow bananas before they’ve ripened, which leads me to believe that bananas are better for you, nutritionally, if you eat them either when they’re ripe or when they are raw.

It’s just a theory.

Green bananas, unlike their yellow family members, are best eaten after they’ve been boiled or fried. Below are a few health benefits to chew over.

GREEN BANANAS ARE HIGH IN FIBER.

Just one cup of boiled green bananas contains 3.6 g of fiber, which satisfies 14 percent of your daily value! And as you may or may not already be aware, there is a decent correlation between the consumption of high fiber food and lowered instances of disease, such as diabetes. Bottom line? The stuff is good for you.

GREEN BANANAS INCREASE YOUR BODY’S ABILITY TO ABSORB NUTRIENTS.

Green bananas contain compounds called short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which nourish the cell tissue lining of the small intestine, dramatically enhancing the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients [source].

GREEN BANANAS ARE HIGH IN POTASSIUM.

Just like yellow bananas, green bananas are just as high in potassium. For instance, just one cup of boiled green bananas contains 531 mg of potassium. Compare this with the American Heart Association’s recommended intake of 4,700 mg of potassium per day [source].

GREEN BANANAS CONTAIN RESISTANT STARCH.

By definition, resistant starch (RS) is any starch that is not digested in the small intestine but passes to the large bowel. And according to research conducted by Janine Higgins of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, there is strong evidence to suggest that RS intake is associated with several changes in metabolism which may have positive health benefits such as:

  • Decreases glycemic and insulinemic responses
  • Lowers plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations
  • Improves whole body insulin sensitivity
  • Increases satiety, and reduces fat storage.

Mashed Green Bananas with Corned Beef

If you’re a regular reader of this website, you’re probably aware that half of my background is Barbadian (on my mother’s side), and Bajan meals are incredibly flavorful. One of my favorite home-cooked meals is Mashed Green Bananas with Corned Beef; and on my mother’s most recent visit, I wasted no time putting her to work. I should mention that while the following recipe was made with corned beef, it is also sometimes served with salmon.

Ingredients:

  • green bananas (find them at your local hispanic food store; sometimes Asian food stores will have them too)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 of a fresh, green bell pepper
  • 1 can of corned beef
  • EVOO
  • crushed red pepper
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (to taste)
  • paprika
  • *fresh hot pepper, finely chopped

*optional

Directions:

  • Wash and score the green bananas lengthwise to peel off skin. 
  • Cut peeled bananas lengthwise and place into medium-size pot of water.
  • Bring bananas to a rapid boil and then reduce heat; continue to cook (covered) for 25 minutes or until bananas are tender.
  • With a potato masher, mash bananas until smooth. Add water to make it more creamy and smooth.

Directions for Corned Beef Sauce:

  • Sauté green pepper, onion, parsley, red pepper and paprika in a medium size pan with EVOO.
  • Add 1 cup of water to pan and cover with lid. Increase heat until it reaches a rapid boil. Add corned beef and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Top mashed bananas with sauce and enjoy!

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Resources:

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