Bananas are a fruit regularly utilised by fitness individuals to provide them with an adequate dose of both carbohydrates and potassium. The source of carbohydrate provided is generally considered low glycemic, allowing for a gradual breakdown and release of stable carbohydrates that fuel the body for a longer period of time. Not only does this make bananas ideal for sports lasting 60 minutes or more, but it also assists in maintaining stable blood sugar levels and reduces any feeling of hunger.
Despite the regular use of bananas as a fuel source to power workouts, there appear to be numerous myths about bananas which individuals either get wrong or are simply unaware of. The first is storage of this common fruit and the second is when best to consume them.
Let us firstly consider their storage; how do you chose to store your banana supply? Whether developed through an old wife’s tale or Chinese whispers it appears that many of us opt for room temperature. This information is strongly misleading; in fact bananas should be stored in a cooler environment, such as a refrigerator.
Although from the outside the cool environment will cause a premature blackening of the skin, the actual fruit itself will mature at a much slower rate and spoil less quickly than at room temperature. So far so good?
With the first rumour quickly dispelled, let us now consider when is best to consume a banana. This will be considered in terms of their ripeness levels and nutritional content. It may surprise you to know that as a banana ripens, its glycemic index and sugar content also alter. This is because in greener, unripened bananas, the majority of the carbohydrate is stored in the form of resistant starch. This resistant starch is extremely durable and one which human beings lack the enzymes to fully digest. Over a period of time as the fruit ripens, this resistant starch converts into more readily available sugars. Ultimately, this influences and alters the glycemic index status.
Previous research has identified bananas classified as under ripe offered a glycemic index score of 30, whilst a standard ripeness banana received a score of 40. This score continued to increase, with an over-ripe banana recording a score of approximately 50. Over-ripe bananas have be seen to achieve scores of up to 70 on the glycemic index rating, more than double that of an under ripe banana.
Who would have imagined the scientific research behind bananas? In terms of their storage, it really is quite simple, remove them from your cupboards and place them in your refrigerator for longevity reasons.
With regards to the ripeness issue, the solution is less clear cut. Although from the above findings it would be more beneficial to choose an unripened banana – purely for nutritional content – you also have to offset this against the taste factor. Common sense would suggest taking the middle ground, avoiding the unflattering taste of unripened bananas but also avoiding the higher sugar content of over ripened bananas. The choice really is yours; we’re just allowing you to make that informed decision.