Generally, people prefer fresh, green or slightly yellow bananas.
One mistake that consumers generally make is to link the brown spots on a banana with fruit disease. In reality, the opposite is true. The more brown spots a banana has, the healthier and tastier the banana is.
Bananas are one of the most delicious fruits, and few people can resist them. But if you like to fully maximise the potential nutrient value and health benefits of a banana, consider eating a banana with brown spots.
Here is why…
The Cancer Factor
A fully ripe banana contains TNF, a substance which scientists believe has the power and ability to fight abnormal cells. TNF is short for tumor necrosis factor, or substances that fight cancer.
The ripening process of the banana results with brown spots appearing on the peel and on the fruit itself. Scientists believe that those dark patches, actually, are a sign of more immunity enhancement quality.
The amount of TNF substance in a banana is higher when a banana has brown spots. TNF has anti-cancer properties, increasing the capacity of the immune system. Cancer is just one disease that TNF battles, as the substance also helps with prevention for other lifestyle-related diseases.
An experiment conducted by scientists in Japan recently proved the health benefits of ripe fruits and banana was not the only fruit on the list. Aside from bananas, scientists tested grape, apple, pineapple, watermelon and pear. However, the results showed that bananas give the best result when they ripe.
Ripe vs. fresh banana
The results of the study by the Japanese scientists showed that a banana with brown spots has up to 8 times more TNF substances than a fresh, green banana. The health benefits and effects of a ripe banana are considerably better to a point that scientists recommend people consuming only ripe bananas.
One note though, if a banana is fully ripen, you must store it in the refrigerator in order to minimize vitamin loss. Even though ripen bananas are healthier, be careful not to over-ripe bananas when they turn completely brown.
A fresh yellow banana with few brown patches is the thing you strive for. Once bananas reach that stage, they are ready for consumption.
The Ripening process
Bananas have a different ripening process when compared to other fruits and plants.
For example, other fruits ripen when they are on a tree or a plant. Bananas, on the other hand, are picked firm, fleshy and green.
Once pickers pick up the banana from the tree, amino acids inside the fruit change to ethylene gas. It is that ethylene gas that ripens the banana. The enzymes from the gas soften and sweeten the fruit.
As the banana ripens, the color changes from green to yellow to eventually brownish or yellow with brown spots. If bananas are close to the marketplace, some growers purposely add ethylene gas to speed up the ripening process.
With the ripening process, the sugar content in the fruit dramatically increases from 0% to about 80%. The more brown spots a banana has, the more sugar it contains. People often mistake brown spots on the banana with diseases, but quite the contrary, a banana with brown spots is more healthy and tastier than fresh, green banana.
How to use bananas with brown spots
With ripening, the amount of sugar in the banana increases. The higher amount of sugar in bananas with brown spots makes them a perfect choice for baking. Since there is higher amount of sugar in the banana, you can reduce the amount of processed sugar in recipes.
Using the banana as a sweetener is a great way to eat healthy sweets. Banana bread, banana cake and muffins are just some ideas. Another option for ripen bananas is to squeeze them and use them in smoothies. The banana puree can be used for smoothies, but also for baked goods.