Superfood Spotlight: Green Banana Flour
Another day, another healthy food trend that’ll change your life: Green Banana Flour! You've seen them at the store and likely opted for the riper, sweeter yellow bananas but did you know that un-ripened bananas aka green bananas are packed with beneficial nutrients? Say hello to your new pantry staple: green banana flour.
First thing is first, what is green banana flour and where did it come from? Green banana flour is an amazing flour substitute for people who are gluten free. In fact, not only is it gluten free but it’s vegan, vegetarian and even paleo friendly! Though it sounds like an uncommon substitute in North America, it is a staple in countries where bananas are grown such as Africa, Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean. It is a direct product of unripe, dried, and ground green bananas. It’s so easy you can even make the flour yourself! All you need is green bananas, a mortar and pestle and you’re in business. They must specifically be green though, otherwise you won't be getting any of the health benefits that we’re about to dive in to.
Before we get into it, here's a chart we love that illustrates just how much the ripeness of your banana can effect the type of nutrients it contains:
As you can see, despite bananas being known for their high sugar content - in reality the sugar content as well as nutrients present vary depending on what stage of ripe-ness the banana is actually in.
Now that we've got that sorted, here’s why you should add green banana flour to your diet:
- Green banana flour is a source of resistance starch. Resistance starch is a gut friendly type of fibre that works as a prebiotic. It helps bring nourishment to the good bacteria in your gut and keep it in tip top shape. The most common form of resistant starches are white potatoes, white rice, legumes and, you guessed it, green bananas! In fact, green bananas give you anywhere from 42-52 grams of resistant starch per cup which is the highest of any food. This fermentable fibre passes through your intestines, where it is digested and used as essentially ‘food’ for your gut bacteria. This fermentation process brings short chain fatty acids, mostly butyrate, throughout our bodies. Butyrate is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Another benefit of including resistant starches in your diet are the positive affects they have on your blood sugar levels. They aid in supporting the glycemic load of foods which in turn helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady while preventing sugar spikes. This makes green banana flour an excellent option for those with diabetes or anyone wanting to better manage their blood sugar levels.
- Green banana flour is nutrient rich. Did you know that green banana flour is a source of 5HTP. Typically 5HTP isn’t found in foods. But what is it? 5HTP is a by-product of the protein tryptophan and can be converted into serotonin within the body. This increase in serotonin production in the brain helps treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, poor sleep, and headaches without the negative side effects. Along with 5HTP, green banana flour contains a variety of minerals including zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. As we know, zinc is great for the immune system, magnesium is great for recovery and muscles, phosphorus is a natural detoxification and manganese is great for your metabolism.
Bonus: Using green banana flour is not only good for you, but also for the planet! Green bananas are usually wasted due to their undesirability and lack of ripeness. Millions of bananas go to waste due to blemishes, bruises and more, resulting in a ton of food waste. With green banana flour, those wasted bananas are not only being used, but turned into something with a long shelf life. This reduction of waste and maximization of products contributes to increasing demand for said products as they are being used in more ways. By purchasing sustainable products, we are directly supporting the makers of these products and keeping the demand and supply chain going. The bonus? When using green banana flour, you can use 25-30% LESS than white flour. Saving money and preventing food waste? Sounds like a win-win to us!
It’s gluten free, good for your gut, makes you scientifically happier, AND it’s saving the planet. What more could you ask for?!
Now that we’ve convinced you to add green banana flour to your diet, here are a few ways to incorporate it:
- Bake with it! Green banana flour is great for gluten-free baking however it should be noted that the beneficial resistant starches disappear once it’s heated above 140 degreed F.
- To enjoy the benefits of green banana flour listed above, it’s best not to heat this prebiotic rich flour. Try adding it to a smoothie or cold drink instead!
- Try our new gluten-free Pancake & Waffle Mixes in Original, Chocolate & Matcha!