What Does Eating Ripe Bananas Do for Your Body?

· January 22, 2016
Bananas are a delicious fruit we should all try to eat more often. For one thing, they taste delicious but they also contain some important nutrients that can improve your overall health.

In other articles, we’ve talked about the fact that eating more bananas can help reduce depression, optimize your brain function, fight high blood pressure, and can prevent a variety of other diseases. But thanks to more recent research, we’ve learned about a new benefit, specifically from eating ripe bananas.

Bananas contain tumor necrosis factor

As bananas ripen they get those classic dark spots on their peel that eventually turn the whole thing brown. Some people avoid buying bananas when they’ve reached this stage because they’re much sweeter and the mushy texture can be unpleasant. 

What most people don’t know is that the more dark spots a banana has, the more benefits it has for the body and particularly the immune system.

Recent research in Japan has shown that ripe bananas contain a cytokine known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). This substance comes from some cells in the immune system, and can affect other cells in the body.

This is what gives ripe bananas their ability to fight cancer. According to the study, effect is so strong that they can actually fight tumors and abnormal cellular growth in the body.

This substance has a similar function to lentinan, a chemical immune-stimulant that’s administered intravenously as an anti-cancer agent.

This effect increases as the banana ripens, meaning that the riper the fruit is, the greater its anti-cancer effect.

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Riper fruits have higher quality nutrients

When fruits ripen, their nutritional value changes, which can increase or decrease the effect of certain properties. The researchers found that the more ripe bananas are, the higher their concentration of antioxidants. Plus, the starch content in bananas with dark spots converts more easily into simple sugar, which is easier to digest.

Bananas, apples, grapes, pineapples, pears, watermelon, and persimmons: in the Japanese study we mentioned above, they ran different dietary tests throughout the different stages of maturity for all of these fruits.

The results show that eating a ripe banana is more beneficial than eating any other fruit. This is because it can increase your white blood cell count, strengthening your immune system.

To benefit from this amazing property, it’s best to eat one or two large bananas a day.

 eating ripe bananas every day

Boost your immune system and fight disease

Scientists think that the more ripe a banana is, the higher concentration of TNF it will have. Ripe bananas might even be able to boost your white blood cell count up to eight times more than green ones.

Red blood cells

What other benefits do you get from eating ripe bananas?

Their anti-cancer benefits alone should be more than enough of an incentive to make them part of your diet. But if that didn’t convince you, here are some other great benefits of eating ripe bananas.

Improves digestive health

One medium-sized banana contains up to 3 grams of fiber, which contributes to good intestinal function and helps food move through your digestive tract. Bananas are also a natural source of electrolytes, which you lose a lot of if you get diarrhea, for example.

Plus, they have probiotic compounds that can help preserve the good bacteria naturally present in the body.

Improves cardiovascular health

Because they’re rich in potassium, eating ripe bananas can also help reduce stores of sodium in the body. Too much sodium build-up can cause fluid retention and have a negative impact on heart health.

In an analysis of 11 studies published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology,” they found that people who added potassium-rich foods to their diet reduced their risk of stroke and heart disease.

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plastic heart

Improve bone health

A study by the Micronutrient Information Center at the Oregon-based Linus Pauling Institute revealed that a diet rich in potassium can also reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Eating ripe bananas is an excellent source of potassium, increasing the body’s ability to absorb calcium and helping strengthen bones.