These days, the health & well-being is the key. One healthy food that has slipped under the radar of health aficionados is green banana flour.
What is Green Banana Flour?
Banana flour is flour that is made with green bananas. In the past, green banana flour has been consumed in Africa and Jamaica as a cheaper alternative to wheat flour. In the early 1900s, banana flour was sold in Central America under the brand-name Musarina and was told to be beneficial for those with stomach problems and pains. Now as trends have shifted, it has grown in popularity as a gluten-free replacement for wheat flours or as a source of resistant starch, popularized by dieting trends such as paleo and primal diets.
Eaten raw, banana flour has a very mild banana flavor. When cooked, it has an earthy, non-banana flavor with texture similar to lighter wheat flours. However, it differs as it only requires about 25% less volume while cooking, making it a good replacement for white and white whole-wheat flour.
Homemade Banana Flour
Even though it contains a lot of benefits, you can make your own banana flour right at the comfort of your own home. It’s important to note that 3 kilograms of green bananas results in about 1 kilogram of banana flour.
First, peel the bananas. You can boil or steam the unpeeled bananas on the stove to loosen the skin or use a knife to cut off the skin if peeling is especially tough. Afterwards, cut bananas into thin slices, place on baking trays and dry in a low oven for 2-3 hours. Otherwise you can also dry the bananas in a dehydrator or sun dried beneath the sun. The bananas will turn quite light in color when it’s ready. Once it’s ready, place all in a high speed blender or thermomix and grind into a fine flour. If you find that the bananas are still sticky instead of grinding, then dry it out again by remove from blender, spread on tray and leave to dry for longer. Grind the banana flour again, then sift and store in a dry, airtight container.
Health Benefits of Banana Flour
Resistant Starch for Immune System
Researchers have found that banana flour is an excellent and useful source of resistant starch for it contains highest amount of resistant starch in any food, amounting to 42-52.8 grams of resistant starch per cup.
Resistant starch is a fermentable fiber, passing through the intestines undigested. This fermentation process delivers short-chain fatty acids called the butyrate that helps with one’s immune system. Moreover, resistant starch can reduce the glycemic load of foods making them easier on your blood sugar levels. Resistant starch is known to be effective for treating obesity, type 2 diabetes, and reducing the risk of colon cancer. Additionally, green banana flour contains inulin and insoluble fibre, which also act as prebiotics. This trio of fibre can act as a mild laxative effect for those who need it.
Depending on the drying procedures, banana flour may have a high resistant starch content (>60%) or it may have a low resistant starch content (<10%). Banana flour should be eaten raw, for instance in smoothies or nutrition bars, because cooking may reduce the resistant starch content.
5HTP for Antidepressants
5HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is a powerful supplement that helps to increase serotonin production in the brain, working similarly to antidepressants. Unlike SSRIs which has side effects, 5HTP does not have any side effects or long-term associated dangers. This means that green banana flour is extremely beneficial for those suffering from depression, moods, anxiety, sleep, and headaches.
Mineral-rich for Overall Body Health and Development
Green banana flour also has a lot of essential minerals for the body. Not only starch resistant components, but it is also rich in zinc, magnesium and phosphorous. Zinc is important for a healthy immune system, healing, brain function, skin/hair/nail health, and is especially important for young kids during development. Other than that, magnesium is great for sore muscles, recovery, sleep, and pH balance. Phosphorus helps the body detoxify, helps cells to repair and keeps hearts beating at a normal pace. That is just the important minerals, not to mention other minerals that also affect our bodies in a positive way.
Gluten-Free and Grain-Free
One of the best aspects of banana flour is that many people can consume it. From paleo dieters, people who follow healing diets like the autoimmune protocol, vegan to vegetarian eaters. It is therefore a solid choice for gluten-free and grain-free flour alternatives. Even more, it doesn’t contain the anti-nutrients and gut irritants in wheat flour, and it’s safe for those with coeliac disease. It’s high starch content means that banana flour has excellent cooking/baking characteristics which allows it to replace wheat and other flours.
Fiber and Manganese Aids Weight Loss
Because of its high fiber content, this flour is a filling supplement in your diet while also helping you meet your nutritional needs. Its high fiber content also helps slow down digestion and keep the stomach fuller for a longer time. Banana flour is great for weight loss not only because it contains high fiber content, but it also keeps your blood sugar stable which should lessen the frequency and intensity with which you experience cravings. Manganese, on the other hand, influences our metabolic system which creates ease in weight loss and management in addition to increased absorption of calcium.
Green Banana Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup spinach, frozen
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 1 green apple, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp green banana flour
- 1 cup chilled water (or pure coconut water)
Method: Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.