Viral image shows a banana's health benefits vary depending on ripeness

An annotated image has gone viral online as it provides clarity to those wondering what the term 'ripe' actually means in terms of bananas and whether it's safe to eat the really green and the mostly brown ones.

It turns out the skin colour can help indicate the health benefits of the fruit within, according to The Verge green is not only OK for consumption, it actually contains a great deal of 'resistant' starch which is great fuel for good gut bacteria and is lower in natural sugars.

🍌 The best way to understand how the health of a banana can change is by investigating what really happens to them internally over time. Green Bananas These bananas are youthful, low fodmap and also full of starch. Referred to as "resistant" starch, this nutrient makes your digestive system work a little harder. It's also the reason why green bananas seem to fill you up so quickly. However, the starch in green bananas can also make you feel gassy or bloated. The starch content in green bananas contributes to their waxy texture. If you're looking for a banana that's lower GI, go for a green one. Eventually, your body will break this starch down into glucose. This way, green bananas will raise blood sugar levels slowly. The trade-off here is taste. Green bananas can be bitter, as they contain less sugar in every bite. Yellow Bananas Say goodbye to starch and hello to sugar. This gradual switch results in a softer and sweeter banana. While the yellow variety is higher on the glycemic index, they are actually easier to digest. With less starch to break down, your digestive system will soak up the nutrients quicker. Unfortunately, there is always micronutrient loss as bananas age. To make up for this, yellow bananas are more developed when it comes to antioxidants. Spotted Bananas Not only do brown spots show that a banana has aged, but they also indicate how much starch has been converted to sugar. Ultimately, the greater number of brown spots a banana has, the more sugar it contains. You can also view brown spots as tiny immune system boosters. Spotted bananas are so rich in antioxidants that they have been linked to cancer prevention. Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) which functions to destroy tumors, is linked to those brown dots. Brown Bananas Do you remember all that resistant starch? Well, it's practically all sugar now. Just as the starch has broken down into sugar, chlorophyll has taken a new form as well. This breakdown of chlorophyll is the reason why antioxidant levels increase as bananas age. All bananas are around 100 calories, low in fat and are rich sources of Potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Fibre. 🍌

A post shared by Sports Dietitian | Ryan Pinto (@highperformancenutritionau) on

if the banana's outsides are yellow and spotless it's a sign that the fibre content is still high in the sugars are a bit more pronounced.

Yellow with a very light smattering of spots is what most consider 'ripe' and serves as a sign of the banana is lower in starch, smoother and packed with antioxidants.

Lots of small to medium brown spot suggests the banana will be sweeter, but not a prize winner in the nutritional value department.

Largely brown means it's pretty much all sugar and super low in fibre, however they are still perfectly edible and make excellent banana bread!

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