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What Banana Ripeness is Best?

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
March 21, 2024
March 21, 2024

Have you ever had a really green banana? Its kinda crunchy, not at all sweet, and leaves a bad mouthfeel, right? But as it ripens, the taste, mouthfeel, and also its nutrient profile changes slightly, in several ways. Want to know when's the best way to eat a banana? Watch the video, or keep reading for more.

Here are a few notable changes that occur as a banana ripens:

Image courtesy of HPN Australia
  • Starch and Resistant Starch Content: Bananas that are less ripe (more green) tend to have more resistant starch than fully ripe bananas (more yellow or brown). The starch in a green banana has not yet been fully converted into sugar, so it remains more resistant to digestion. The amount of resistant starch in bananas varies depending on the type and how it is prepared and cooked. Other sources of resistant starch, such as beans, legumes, and whole grains are much better sources than a banana, so don't eat bananas just for this reason.
  • Sugar Content: As a banana ripens, its starch content is converted into sugar, which makes the banana sweeter. The sugar content of a banana increases as it ripens, peaking when the banana is fully ripe.
  • Fiber Content: The fiber content of a banana does not change significantly as it ripens. However, a fully ripe banana may be easier to digest due to its softer texture, which may make it easier for the body to absorb the fiber.
  • Vitamin Content: The vitamin content of a banana does not change significantly as it ripens. However, fully ripe bananas may be more prone to spoilage, which can reduce the overall vitamin content of the fruit.
  • Mineral Content: The mineral content of a banana does not change significantly as it ripens.

Overall, the nutrient profile of a banana changes only slightly as it ripens, but is at its most nutritious and least sugary when it is mostly yellow, just past the green stage. Most importantly, eat bananas! They're good for you. Just don't eat them late at night...that's too much sugar! Now go grab some fresh bananas! Watch the portion 😄

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