Riper bananas have less fiber, but more antioxidants

A banana’s ripening involves the conversion of resistant starch into the sugars fructose and glucose. Even if the calories remain the same (about 90 kcal per banana), this means that there are differences in how the sugars will be digested, with riper bananas raising blood sugar faster.

The glycemic index (how fast the banana your raises blood sugar) is, however, always relatively low. Resistant starch, found in higher quantities in unripe bananas, is a fiber which can’t be digested and is instead fermented by your large intestine bacteria, and is believed to have beneficial effects on intestinal health, though more research is needed to secure this point.

Ripe bananas, however, do have the advantage of higher amounts of antioxidants known as catechins, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease.

1. Pingyi Zhang et al. Banana starch: production, physicochemical properties, and digestibility—a review. Carbohydrate Polymers, Volume 59, Issue 4, 15 March 2005, Pages 443–458.
2. Leonel AJ et al. Butyrate: implications for intestinal function. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Sep;15(5):474-9.
3. Shinichi Someya et al. Antioxidant compounds from bananas (Musa Cavendish). Food Chemistry Volume 79, Issue 3, November 2002, Pages 351–354.
4. Wang X et al. Flavonoid intake and risk of CVD: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jan 14;111(1):1-11.

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