Apart from benefiting your skin and hair, bananas can also have surprising health properties! In this article we will reveal the truth about the nutritional value of bananas and will guide you though all the healthy and beneficial properties of the fruit. And after you read this article you can eat bananas without having guilty thoughts!
Even though bananas are fruits with bad fame because of their relatively high fructose content, they are in fact loaded with various micronutrients and fiber :
- Vitamins A, C, and B complex
- Dietary fiber and starches
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
These nutrient make bananas extremely nutritious fruits that can supply you with various vitamins and minerals and provide you with distinct health benefits (which we look at in the next section.)
However, keep in mind that depending on their ripeness, bananas may have different nutritional value. The main difference comes from the fact that green (unripe) bananas contain probiotics, have higher resistant starch and fiber content, and are lower in fructose (sugar found in fruits) when compared to ripe bananas.
That being said, the health benefits that bananas offer you are most likely to come from unripe (or not yet fully riped) bananas.
The health benefits of green banana consumption presented below are mainly based on information from a 2019 review paper published in the Nutrients Journal (by MDPI) .
May improve gut health
Green bananas are high in fiber and resistant starch. This way, they can be effective in regulating gut health issues and bowel activity, and more specifically improving the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation.
What is more, bananas are rich in fructooligosaccharides, which are prebiotic compounds. They “feed” the probiotic (good) bacteria in your gut and ensure balance in the microbial abundance in your colon. In that sense, balanced gut flora can be associated with improved nutrient absorption, immune system support, and digestive health. 
Find out all the health benefits of dietary fiber in our dedicated article!
May support weight management
Green bananas are low in calories and high in resistant starch and fiber. They prevent sharp spikes and blood sugar, keep you full for longer time, and this way, can support you to eat less (and consume less calories) during the day. This way, including green bananas in your balanced diet can help you in your weight loss or weight management journey.
May improve blood sugar profile
As fiber and resistant starches in green bananas can prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar levels, they may result in improved blood sugar profile in the long run.
However, keep in mind that very ripe (yellow) bananas are higher in sugar and lower in starch and fiber. This may cause the opposite effect: blood sugar spikes and high total blood sugar in the long run.
May improve insulin sensitivity
Evidence suggests that supplementation with resistant starch can improve insulin sensitivity (body cells using insulin for glucose metabolism) with about 44%.  In that sense, green bananas may increase the insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 prediabetes.
May reduce inflammation
A 2020 study published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry suggests that bananas can help reduce inflammation, fight oxidative stress, and decrease cell damage in the body due to their kaempferol and quercetin content (bioactive antioxidant compounds). 
May improve cholesterol
Bananas are not only naturally cholesterol-free, but can also help you to balance your cholesterol profile (including bad, good cholesterol and triglycerides). In that sense, moderate consumption of green bananas can help you to to lower your total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as your triglycerides. 
This way, moderate banana consumption can help you lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
May positively impact your mood
Evidence suggests that bananas are rich in tryphtophan, which is a protein that the body converts into serotonin (then metabolized). And as serotonin is a chemical that contributes to better mood and sense of wellbeing, bananas can make us feel happier and more relaxed, reducing depression symptoms. 
How much to eat?
The USDA dietary recommendations for fruit intake are between 1 and 2 cups of whole fruits per day.  In terms of bananas, that is no more than 2 bananas a day.
Consuming more than the recommended intake can increase the risk of high blood sugar (especially if you eat ripe bananas) and vitamin and mineral imbalance (e.g., high potassium levels stimulate kidney disease progression.) Sticking to the USDA guidelines can provide you optimal health benefits of fruits!