Looking for a versatile, grain free, gluten free flour? Look no further than green banana flour. Green banana flour is made using bananas that are harvested before they have fully ripened and hence before the starch has turned to sugar. This means it is not sweet like normal banana flour and can replace other flours in both savoury and sweet dishes. It has many health giving properties including:
- Resistant starch – green banana flour is a good source of resistant starch which is not digested in the small intestine; thus, it is characterized as a type of fibre. Fibre intake is associated with the prevention of DNA damage and cancer (1) as well as improved bowel health.
- Improve blood sugar control – there is consistent evidence that consumption of resistant starch can aid blood sugar control and increase satiety meaning you feel full up for longer without having to eat as much (2).
- Improve gut health – the resistant starch in green banana flour acts as a prebiotic. It is used by the bacteria in the intestines to produce short-chain fatty acids that serve as a major fuel source for the cells in the colon (3).
- Reduce inflammation – green banana flour has protective effects on intestinal inflammation. Research has found that patients with inflammatory bowel disease taking prednisolone as an anti-inflammatory who added green banana flour into their diets enhanced the anti-inflammatory effects of the medication (3).
- Gluten free – green banana flour is gluten free and can be used in many recipes instead of wheat flour. It works well alongside other flours such as buckwheat, rice or coconut flour. If using only banana flour use 2/3 the amount of flour recommended in the recipe. Replacing 30% of the wheat flour in cakes with green banana flour leads to an increase in resistant starch and fibre content as well as a higher antioxidant capacity. So, for a nutritionally enhanced cake that does not spike blood sugar add some green banana flour to the recipe (4).
- Improve blood sugar control and lower blood pressure – A group of overweight women who consumed 20g of green banana flour a day for 45 days experienced a reduction in systolic blood pressure, hip circumference and fasting glucose levels (5).
- Improve semen quality – In small quantities green banana flour has been shown to improve semen quality in male rats. However, eating large quantities of green banana flour may reduce sperm cell quality and quantity (6). So all good things in moderation!
- Potassium – like bananas, green banana flour is an excellent source of potassium which is needed for the nervous system and cardiovascular health. Unlike bananas it will not spike your blood sugar levels.
- Versatility – As well as being useful in baked goods green banana flour can be used to thicken soups and sauces or added to smoothies.
- 1. Genet Mol Res. 2015 Mar 6;14(1):1679-91. Resistant starch: a functional food that prevents DNA damage and chemical carcinogenesis. Navarro SD, Mauro MO, Pesarini JR et al.
- 2. Nutrition Bulletin, 2017. Health effects of resistant starch. Lockyer S, Nugent A P.
- 3. Nutr Res. 2012 Mar;32(3):202-9. Dietary intervention with green dwarf banana flour (Musa sp AAA) prevents intestinal inflammation in a trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid model of rat colitis. Scarminio V, Fruet AC, Witaicenis A et al.
- 4. Food Chem. 2017 Mar 15;219:240-248. Mechanically fractionated flour isolated from green bananas (M. cavendishii var. nanica) as a tool to increase the dietary fiber and phytochemical bioactivity of layer and sponge cakes. Segundo C, Roman L, Gomez M, Martinez M.
- 5. Nutr Hosp. 2014 May 1;29(5):1070-80. Women with metabolic syndrome improve antrophometric and biochemical parameters with green banana flour consumption. Tavares da Silva S, Araujo Dos Santos C, Marvila Girondoli Y et al.
- 6. Niger Med J. 2013 Mar;54(2):92-5. Beneficial effects of low dose Musa paradisiaca on the semen quality of male Wistar rats. Alabi AS, Omotoso GO, Enaibe BU et al.