When to Eat Bananas and Is It Suitable For Everyone
‘Bananas contain several compounds, such as carotenoids, which are linked to eye health and cancer prevention, and which become more “bioavailable” [available to the body] when the banana ripens,’ she says. ‘With less starch to break down, your digestive system will soak up the nutrients more quickly.’ Bananas contain B vitamins as well as the antioxidant vitamins A and C, plus the minerals iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Some of these micronutrients are lost as the banana ages, but antioxidant levels, which help to support the immune system, reach a peak. Studies, including one published in 2014 in the International Food Research Journal, have shown that vitamin C levels increase with the ripening process, but decline as the banana becomes overripe. ‘These antioxidants exist to protect the fruit from being eaten and tend to rise as the fruit ripens,’ explains Dr Sangeetha Thondre, a senior lecturer in nutrition at Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health.