Before you throw out a banana because it has turned brown and seems past its eating prime, consider the potential nutritional benefits it provides. A brown banana has a higher level of antioxidants than yellow or green, unripe bananas. It's also easier to digest for people with digestive ailments, including irritable bowel and functional abdominal bloating.
A brown, yellow or green banana are all a good source of potassium, vitamin B-6 and fiber. As a banana reaches the brown stage, its concentration of antioxidants increases. Antioxidants are important in helping protect your body against disease-causing inflammation. As bananas turn brown, some of the micronutrients present do diminish. Store ripe bananas in the refrigerator to reduce this loss.
In brown bananas, the resistant starch has almost completely transformed into simple sugars. When you eat a brown banana, you're blood sugar spikes more quickly than it would when you eat a green one. Type-2 diabetics are thus recommended to avoid brown-spotted or fully brown bananas, which are mostly sugar. Less ripe bananas are healthier for people who are trying to cut back on sugar.
Because a brown banana is mostly simple sugar, it's easy to digest. People with irritable bowel and other digestive ailments may find brown bananas are more agreeable to their systems. Watch for brown bananas that are too far past their prime. If it smells, is squishy or shows signs of leaking or mold, it's not fit to eat.
A Japanese study published in a 2009 issue of "Food Science and Technology Research" determined that the brown spots on bananas produce a substance called Tumor Necrosis Factor, which breaks down abnormal cells -- including those that cause cancer. Brown bananas can't cure cancer, but consuming them might boost your immune function.
We freeze our ripe bananas until we have enough to make this delicious Banana Bread.
2/3 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
50g butter, melted, cooled
3 overripe medium bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush an 11 x 21cm (base measurement) loaf pan with melted dairy spread to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 opposite sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang.
Sift the combined flours and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Place the milk, eggs, melted butter and banana in a medium bowl, and stir until well combined. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.
Makes 1 loaf
Notes & tips: This banana bread will keep in an airtight container out of direct sunlight for up to 3 days. Alternatively, place in an airtight container, then label, date and freeze for up to 1 month. Place in the fridge overnight to thaw.