When it comes to produce, most people believe that the fresher, the better. Especially when it comes to bananas.
Bananas with brown spots tend to be softer and sweeter than yellow or green bananas.
The brown spots indicate that the fruit is exceedingly ripe and is close to going bad.
That’s why people often use them only for baking with, if they don’t just throw them out entirely.
A Few Brown Spots Make It Even Healthier…
However, some scientists believe that ripe bananas with brown spots are valuable immune-system boosters, and may even help fight cancer.
A study published in the journal Food Science And Technological Research, titled “Difference In Biological Response Modifier-Like Activities According To Strain And Maturity Of Bananas”, outlines the ways that mature bananas may be better for you than fresh or unripe bananas.
“We evaluated possible difference in the biological response modifier (BRM)-like activities of bananas (such as the effects on neutrophil accumulation and macrophage morphology, and the priming effects on cytokine induction), according to their strain and maturity, using a conventional strain and a strain for highland strain. After the addiction of banana extracts, market macrophage spreading was observed, and morphological changes differed according to the strain and maturity of bananas,” the researchers explain(1).
In short, the health impact of bananas varies depending on how ripe or unripe the bananas are.
Bananas And Cancer
According to the study, ripe bananas can help activate something called tumor necrosis factor, or TNF – the process by which cancerous tumor cells are selectively killed off. Tumor necrosis factor is produced by leukocytes, and is often measured “due to their quantifiability, sensitivity, reproducibility, and significance.”
Bananas Versus Other Fruits
Bananas have a slightly different ripening process than most other fruits.
While most fruits are picked from their plant or tree when they are ripe, bananas are picked when they are unripe and green, and gradually ripen after they’ve been picked, becoming softer and sweeter.
The ripening process of bananas is caused by amino acids, which change to ethylene gas once the fruit has been picked. It’s the same reason why avocados ripen faster when they’re kept in a paper bag.
It’s important to note that the sugar content of bananas changes dramatically as the fruit ripens – increasing from 0% to about 80%. The more brown spots – or sugar spots – a banana has, the more natural sugar it contains. Combined with its high potassium content, bananas are the go-to fruit for fitness enthusiasts after an intense workout.
Making Ripe Bananas Part Of Your Diet
Ripe bananas can be eaten as-is, but their high sugar content also makes them ideal for baking with. Banana pancakes and breads are a delicious way to incorporate ripe bananas into your diet. Ripe bananas also go well with oatmeal, yogurt, and peanut butter.