This post was co-written by Lisa Hugh MSHS RD LDN CLT and Gabrielle McPherson MS, RDN, LDN.
Green Banana Flour- The Grocery Item You Should Try Next
Green banana flour might not be a common grocery item yet, but it might be a great choice for you. Keep on reading to learn more about the properties of bananas, green bananas, and green banana flour.
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What is Green Banana Flour?
Bananas are without a doubt one of the most popular fruits, yet, they are sometimes scrutinized for being “high in sugar” or “high in carbs.” Despite this, bananas still uphold a positive reputation around the world because of their nutrition, low cost, and ease of eating.
100 billion bananas are eaten globally by the year (1). After wheat, maize, and rice, these climacteric fruits are the next major food crop of the world (2). India and China produce the largest amounts of bananas (3).
Bananas belong to the genus Musa, of the Musaceae family (4).
Bananas have two parts — the pulp and the peel (2). The pulp is the part we eat. Although, it is common to toss the peel in the trash, the peel has potential as a food source. The banana peel can be used for making banana peel tea. The peel is sometimes used as compost or as cattle feed(5).
Massive amounts of bananas go to waste every day with the ratio of banana waste and product being 2:1 (6).
“Approximately one-third of bananas are lost due to the public tendency to consume only ripened fruit,” (7). According to the International Agricultural Group, 20% of bananas grown for market fail to meet shape and size standards and are destroyed or composted (8).
Unwanted bananas can be processed in to banana flour, which is a shelf stable product.
Banana flour may sound strange or new to you, but for many years, banana flour has been used as a low-cost replacement for wheat flour in Jamaica and Africa (9). Boiled green bananas are also cooked and eaten in many countries.
How is Banana Flour Produced?
Banana flour results from a step by step process that varies by the producer.
- A whole banana, the pulp, or the peel can be used to make banana flour.
- Banana peels are soaked in multiple solutions that prevent enzymatic browning.
- The peels are then dried and ground and banana flour is born (10).
Read on to discover why this food allergy-friendly food is a grocery item you may want to add to your next instacart order.
Health Benefits of Green Banana Flour
So, why are green bananas used to make flour when ripe bananas are much more commonly eaten?
Basically, green bananas are starchier and ripe bananas are sweeter. When green bananas ripen, the starch breaks down in to the simple sugars that are found in ripe bananas.
When most people think about the nutrition of bananas they think about potassium. However, research has shown bananas offer much more than potassium. Here are some important health and nutrition benefits of green bananas and green banana flour:
- There is a well-known type of dietary fiber called resistant starch (R2) that is found in high amounts in green bananas and lower amounts in ripe bananas (11).
- Dietary fiber can be found in both the pulp and the peel of a banana however, it has been reported that the peel has a greater amount (12).
- In fact, green bananas contain the highest amount of resistant starches compared to all other foods, yielding 42–52.8 grams in 1 cup of uncooked banana flour (13).
- Bananas actually possess higher antioxidant activity than berries and other foods (18).
- Both the banana peel and pulp contain” phenolics, carotenoids, flavonoids, biogenic amines, phytosterols, and other phytochemicals,” (19).
- The banana pulp is also rich in Vitamins B3, B6, B12, C and E (2).
- Green banana contains pectin and may also be helpful in treating diarrhea (22).
Benefits of Resistant Starch
- Resistant starches are known for resisting digestion in the small intestine. This may sound unpleasant, but it’s actually a good thing for resistant starches to enter the colon in their whole form (11).
- Next, the fermentation of the resistant starches occurs in the colon by the good bacteria (14).
- Short-chain fatty acids are the products of this fermentation process which play a role in colorectal cancer prevention (15).
- Resistant starches have been studied for their positive effects on digestive health and blood sugar levels (16).
- In a study, resistant starch was shown to cause weight loss (17) which is possibly achievable by helping with satiety (8).
Green Banana Flour: The Diet Friendly Food
Green banana flour is suitable for those with allergies to gluten, wheat, and other grain allergies and intolerances.
- Green banana flour is a vegan and vegetarian food product.
- Green banana flour may be included in some ketogenic diet plans.
- Green banana flour is included in paleo diets.
- Green Banana flour is a grain-free source of complex carbohydrates.
- Green Banana flour is a Low FODMAP food.
Green Banana Flour in Baking
If you’ve baked countless gluten-free flour recipes and have had baked goods turn into bricks or have a texture that forces you to take more chews than you’re comfortable with, look no further for a better solution.
Unlike some gluten-free flours, green banana flour has starch compounds that give it textural properties similar to wheat flour, making it more palatable (20). Its structural properties also remove the need for binders and fillers that may accompany other flours(8).
A 3/4 cup of banana flour can be used to replace every cup of wheat flour in a recipe. It can be powdery and may disperse everywhere if not handled carefully (21).
When raw, banana flour has a very mild banana flavor. When cooked, banana flour is earthy, and does not have a fruity, banana flavor (9).
Some banana flour products claim to be a “neutral-tasting” like Nubana’s green banana flour product (8).
Ready to start baking with green banana flour? Visit your local health food store or order online.
Green Banana Flour Recipes
Try out these banana flour recipes.
- Green Banana Flour Pancakes
- Banana Flour Chocolate Chips Cookies
- Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Green Banana Porridge (This hearty breakfast porridge is traditionally made with fresh green bananas. Here is a recipe using green banana flour.)
Why should you add green banana flour to your grocery list?
- Green banana flour is a good choice for people with food restrictions, food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances because it is gluten-free, wheat-free, keto approved, paleo approved, vegan, and vegetarian.
- Green banana flour is the best source out there for resistant starch.
- Consuming green banana flour may help with digestive health, normalizing blood sugars, and weight loss.
Have you tried green banana flour?
Have you tried green bananas?
What was your experience like?
Please share in the comments below.
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1.“Working Towards A Fair & Sustainable Banana Trade.” Banana Link, www.bananalink.org.uk.
2. Khoozani, Amir Amini, et al. “Production, Application and Health Effects of Banana Pulp and Peel Flour in the Food Industry.” Journal of Food Science and Technology, vol. 56, no. 2, 2019, pp. 548–559., doi:10.1007/s13197-018-03562-z. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400781/
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8. International Agricultural Group. https://www.iagnubana.com/
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10. Savlak, Nazlı, et al. “Effects of Particle Size Distribution on Some Physical, Chemical and Functional Properties of Unripe Banana Flour.” Food Chemistry, vol. 213, 2016, pp. 180–186., doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.06.064. http://pubs.sciepub.com/jfnr/6/8/1/index.html
11. Patterson, Mindy A., et al. “Resistant Starch Content in Foods Commonly Consumed in the United States: A Narrative Review.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol. 120, no. 2, 2020, pp. 230–244., doi:10.1016/j.jand.2019.10.019. https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(19)31554-0/pdf
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16. Lockyer, S., and A. P. Nugent. “Health Effects of Resistant Starch.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 5 Jan. 2017, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nbu.12244. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nbu.12244
17. Ble-Castillo, Jorge L., et al. “Effects of Native Banana Starch Supplementation on Body Weight and Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Type 2 Diabetics.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 7, no. 5, 2010, pp. 1953–1962., doi:10.3390/ijerph7051953.
18. Moongngarm. “Resistant Starch And Bioactive Contents Of Unripe Banana Flour As Influenced By Harvesting Periods And Its Application.” American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, vol. 9, no. 3, 2014, pp. 457–465., doi:10.3844/ajabssp.2014.457.465. http://kpi.msu.ac.th/upload/ag_tor_ref_bymst/ag_10_in_126.96.36.199_4_2(2557).pdf
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20. Firger, Jessica. “Gluten-Free Bakers Have a New Option Thanks to This Unripe Fruit.” Newsweek, Newsweek, 14 Sept. 2017, www.newsweek.com/gluten-free-baking-green-banana-flour-665233.
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