Boiling Bananas: The Health Benefits Of Eating Boiled Bananas

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Most people who enjoy bananas simply peel and eat the banana or slice it and incorporate sliced banana into whatever cereal, yogurt, smoothie, etc. that they are going to eat.

However, boiling bananas is another approach to eating bananas.

If you have never eaten boiled bananas, it likely sounds bizarre, prompting you to ask questions like: Are the benefits of boiled bananas better than those of raw bananas?

In this nutrition guide, we will discuss why people eat boiled bananas, if boiling bananas is good for you, how to make boiled bananas, and whether there are differences in boiled banana health benefits vs. eating regular bananas.

We will look at: 

  • What Are Boiled Bananas?
  • What Are the Boiled Banana Nutrition Facts?
  • What Are the Benefits of Boiling Bananas?
  • Boiling Bananas: How To

Let’s get started!

A dish of boiled bananas.

What Are Boiled Bananas?

Though you may be dubious about the potential taste, texture, and hassle of boiling bananas, there are some potential boiled banana benefits that may convince you to give it a shot.

Furthermore, eating boiled bananas is rather popular in many parts of the world, particularly areas where green bananas are the primary type of banana found.

Examples of countries where boiling bananas to eat is commonplace include Southeast Asia, Nigeria, Uganda, and Cameroon.

Boiled banana dishes are a staple in many African countries, wherein green bananas are boiled and then either eaten directly after boiling or the boiled green banana is then fried and smashed into a “tostone” or fried pancake or chip, sort of like a hard corn tortilla.

People also eat boiled plantains, which are related to bananas but are starchier and less sweet, in the way that a green banana is an unripe and starchy, less sweet version of a ripe, mature yellow banana.

Note that you can also boil yellow bananas, but because the flesh is already soft and mushy—and thus prone to break down when cooked—most people boil green bananas.

Bunches of green bananas.

What Are the Boiled Banana Nutrition Facts?

There are 105 calories in an average medium-sized banana, 90% of which come from carbohydrates. A banana is about 75% water by weight.

The exact nutrition of a banana will depend on the ripeness and size of the fruit, but here are the USDA nutrition facts for an average, medium-sized (118 gram) banana:

  • Calories: 105
  • Carbohydrates: 27 grams (14 grams of sugar and 3.2 grams of fiber)
  • Potassium: (422 mg) 9% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 33% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the DV
  • Copper: 10% of the DV
  • Manganese: 14% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 8% of the DV

Bananas also provide a number of beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as dopamine and catechin.

Boiled bananas.

Although the overall nutrition facts between green and yellow bananas are not wildly different in terms of calories, vitamins, and minerals, boiled green bananas contain more starch and fiber while yellow bananas contain more sugar in the form of fructose, glucose, and sucrose.

Additionally, the boiled banana nutrition facts and health benefits will depend on whether you are eating the banana after boiling it just in that state or then going to fry the boiled banana or prepare it in some other way.

Frying boiled bananas will add calories and fat, and if you season it with salt, brown sugar, or other toppings, you will obviously add calories and change the boiled banana’s nutritional profile.

What Are the Benefits of Boiling Bananas?

The boiled banana benefits will vary somewhat depending on whether you are eating boiled green bananas or boiled yellow bananas.

The benefit of eating boiled green bananas is getting the fiber (mainly pectin) and resistant starch in the green banana vs. yellow banana.

Green bananas.

According to research, up to 70 to 80% of the dry weight of a green banana or unripe banana is starch, most of which is classified as resistant starch, while yellow bananas only contain 1% starch because the starch is converted into fructose, glucose, sucrose, and other sugars during the ripening process.

Together, research suggests the pectin fiber and resistant starch in a boiled banana that is green can improve blood sugar control and digestive health, produce short-chain fatty acids via the gut bacteria, and increase fullness after the meal. 

The pectin found in boiled bananas has been shown to help control appetite and reduce body fat, even more so than protein.

Similarly, research has found that people may consume less food after eating foods high in resistant starch, such as green bananas. 

Furthermore, there’s a large body of evidence to suggest that diets high in fiber are associated with a decreased risk of numerous diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain inflammatory bowel diseases, and some cancers.

Fried plantains.

Boiled Bananas Are Low Glycemic Fruits

The ripeness of a banana also factors into the glycemic index of the fruit, which, in turn, makes eating boiled bananas using green bananas better for weight loss than yellow bananas.

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that measures the relative extent to which a carbohydrate-based food increases your blood sugar levels after consumption.

The higher the percentage of simple sugars in a food, the higher the glycemic index score will be because the small sugar molecules in the food will be rapidly digested and circulated into the bloodstream.

In contrast, starchy carbs or those with a lot of fiber take longer to break down because the molecules are larger and more complex. This causes a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream and a lower glycemic index value.

Low-glycemic foods are considered to be those with a glycemic index of 55 or less. 

A glycemic index score of 56–69 is classified as a medium-glycemic food, and high-glycemic foods have a GI of 70 or above.

Although most people think bananas are fattening because they are high in carbohydrates and sugar, the glycemic index of a banana is actually only about 42–62 (out of 100), depending on ripeness. 

Bananas and stew.

The riper the banana, the higher the glycemic index will be.

Green bananas have a glycemic index value of around 40 to 42, whereas ripe bananas that are yellow are closer to 60, and overly ripe brown bananas ready to be mashed into banana bread may exceed a GI score of 60.

This metric reflects the fact that eating green bananas will provide you with a stable and slower stream of blood sugar release and can help increase satiety. 

Even though boiling bananas will begin to break down some of the starch and fiber in the banana and thus increase the glycemic index score somewhat, because you are starting with a green banana, boiled bananas will still be a low- or medium-glycemic index food.

Studies have found that consuming more low-glycemic foods may support weight loss over time.

There is also research to suggest that eating bananas can improve blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.

Researchers found that a dietary intervention that involved adding 9 ounces (250 grams) of bananas to the breakfast caused a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels in participants with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol after just four weeks.

Bananas in a pot of water.

Boiling Bananas: How To

There are a variety of boiled banana recipes, but here is a simple recipe for how to boil bananas:

Ingredients:

  • One bunch of medium-sized green bananas
  • Water
  • Optional: salt, cumin, cinnamon, sugar, or other spices to taste

Instructions:

  1. Boil a large pot of water.
  2. While the water heats up to a boil, peel the green bananas and cut them into chunks (1-2 inches). You may need to use a knife to slice the top of the stem in order to peel an unripe green banana if the peel is too thick. If the starchiness and stickiness of the raw green bananas is sticking to your skin, you can rub your hands in cooking oil to make it easier to handle the raw green bananas.
  3. Place the raw banana pieces in a pot of boiling water.
  4. Salt the water if desired. You can also add a little bit of lemon juice to the water to prevent the boiled bananas from turning brown as they boil.
  5. Boil for 4 to 6 minutes or until the green banana flesh is soft and tender. The fewer bananas you boil at once, the shorter the cooking time.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water.
  7. Season the bananas, if desired, using spices or sugar.
  8. Serve the boiled bananas as is or with meat stew, fish, curry, or even ice cream, depending on how you season boiled bananas and your preferences.

For other ideas about the healthiest fruits to eat, check out our guide to the best low-carb fruits for the keto diet here.

A variety of fruits.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

1 thought on “Boiling Bananas: The Health Benefits Of Eating Boiled Bananas”

  1. Thanks for the tip on boiled bananas. I ifter end up throwing ripe bananas away because I don’t have time to make things like banana bread or pudding. I going out to get green bananas today!! I’ll share my results & preferences

    Reply

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