While traditional flour is ground from grains, there are many alternatives for gluten-free flours on the market these days. One of the valuable options for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is organic green banana flour. Keep on reading to find out how it’s made, what its health benefits entail, plus a few smoothie recipes to try for those who are looking to add green banana flour to their diet ASAP.
How to Make Green Banana Flour
To make green banana flour, peel and dry green, unripe bananas, and then grind them into grain-free green banana flour. Widely used in Jamaica, West Africa, and Central American countries, green banana flour has a mild banana flavor when raw, but once cooked this flour lends a more earthy flavor to your food.
Green Banana Flour: Nutrition Facts and Comparison
A good source of potassium thanks to its being derived from bananas, green banana flour also contains the following nutritional profile (based on a 1-cup serving):
- 346 calories
- 88.3 grams of carbohydrates
- 9.9 grams of fiber
- 3.9 grams of protein
- 1.8 grams of fat
- 1,491 milligrams of potassium (43% DV)
- 108 milligrams of magnesium (27% DV)
- 74 milligrams of phosphorus (7% DV)
- 7 milligrams of vitamin C (12% DV)
- 3.9 micrograms of selenium (6% DV)
- 2.8 milligrams of niacin (14% DV)
- 1.2 milligrams of iron (6% DV)
- 0.6 milligram of manganese (29% DV)
- 0.4 milligram of copper (20% DV)
- 0.4 milligram of vitamin B6 (22% DV)
- 0.39 milligram of vitamin E (2.6% DV)
- 0.2 milligram of thiamine (12% DV)
- 0.2 milligram of riboflavin (14% DV)
- 248 international units of vitamin A (5% DV)
Here is how green banana flour compares to a number of other flours.
- Green banana flour: Made from unripe bananas, rich in dietary fiber and resistant starch for colon health, gluten free, and an excellent thickening agent for soups and smoothies.
- Ripe banana flour: Made from ripe bananas, high in potassium, iron, and calcium, gluten-free, and an aid for blood circulation and possibly reducing caffeine/nicotine cravings.
- All-purpose flour: Refined, high in gluten, sometimes fortified with vitamin A, vitamin D, and/or calcium.
- Whole-wheat flour: Strong in fiber concentration and useful in making heavier breads and baked goods.
- Almond flour: Made from blanched almonds, gluten free, low in carbs, high in protein, and nutty in flavor.
- Barley flour: Made from whole-grain barley, low in gluten, full of fiber, and useful as a thickening agent in sauces, stews, or soups.
- Buckwheat flour: Made from buckwheat, gluten free, and grassy in flavor.
- Cassava flour: Gluten free and a staple thickening agent for Brazilian stews.
- Chickpea flour: High in protein, gluten free, and used in cuisine from India.
- Coconut flour: Made from coconut meat, low in sugar, high in protein, gluten free, and full of healthy fats.
The Top 5 Benefits of Green Banana Flour
Green banana flour is an excellent source of insoluble dietary fiber, which can help protect your blood sugar levels from spiking after a meal. It also contains resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic to feed your gut’s good bacteria. For more green banana flour benefits, read on.
1. Improve Insulin Sensitivity
There is clinical evidence showing that butyrate, a substance formed when green banana flour is fermented in the gut, can help prevent and treat some forms of insulin resistance. For example, this 2015 study on native banana starch in both obese and lean participants showed that it improved the glucose and insulin responses surrounding meals and throughout the day.
2. Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is the roof under which conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels are housed. All of these conditions are risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A 2014 Brazilian study on the consumption of green banana flour in obese women found that their hip circumference decreased after 45 days of supplementation. There were significant overall health improvements in those with metabolic syndrome, specifically a reduction in systolic blood pressure and fasting glucose levels.
3. Lower Cholesterol Levels
Resistant starch helps lower cholesterol levels, and that classifies green banana flour as a cholesterol-lowering food. This 2016 study on obese men and women with at least two other aspects of metabolic syndrome showed that resistant starch not only lowered their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, but also their weight and body measurements.
4. Promote Colon Health
Probiotics and prebiotics both work to ensure a healthy gut microbiome. Your gut is one of the frontline battlefields for your immune system against invading viruses and bacteria, and having a healthy army of good gut bacteria is necessary to win.
Colon health is an important aspect of that fight, and when you feed resistant starch to your good bacteria, they, in turn, produce the short-chain fatty acid known as butyrate. Not only is butyrate good for improving your insulin response (see the first entry on this list), but it also helps protect the colon’s cells and can even help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
5. Aid Weight Loss
We’ve mentioned previously that the high starch content of green banana flour helps keep your blood sugar levels regular, but it helps promote healthy weight loss as well. The first way is by increasing feelings of fullness and satiety when eaten, due to the fact that it adds bulk to your meal. Moreover in this 2010 study from Mexico, when given to obese type 2 diabetic participants native banana starch helped them lose more body weight than the control group. This indicates that green banana flour could aid in safe, sustainable weight loss.
Green Banana Flour Smoothie Recipes
While green banana flour makes for a perfect substitute when a recipe calls for a cup of wheat flour (especially if you’re making banana bread), the benefits of resistant starch are best had by eating uncooked green banana flour. Since it has a slight leftover banana flavor when consumed raw, it’s perfect for any one of these original banana smoothie recipes we’ve developed to focus on tasty health benefits.
As for how much green banana flour to use in a smoothie, we recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon at first and working up to higher amounts according to your preference.
The classic pairing of peanut butter and banana can be enhanced with some green banana flour. With the healthy fat contribution of peanut butter and the antioxidant addition of cacao powder, this recipe also suggests including DHA oil to sneak in a dose of omega-3 fatty acids for brain health.
This recipe is full of antioxidant and anti-cancer ingredients like dark berries and flaxseed. With orange juice for vitamin C and Greek yogurt for probiotic health, this fruity treat can be even further enhanced with some green banana flour for its prebiotic contribution.
This energy-boosting pick-me-up is great for starting your morning or for revitalizing the midday slump. With banana, cold brew coffee concentrate, vanilla extract, and chocolate-covered almonds, you can add a dash of green banana flour to even further shore up this powerful protein- and fiber-packed treat.
This recipe is a great way to sneak a vegetable to kids, and a little green banana flour can be added to the refreshing zucchini and heart-healthy walnuts included in the ingredients. With cinnamon and coconut sugar, you couldn’t ask for a sweeter way to be healthy.
Now for a more unique recipe: this decadent treat is perfect for a Halloween party, especially if there are adult beverages around. The activated charcoal included can help absorb toxins that would otherwise plague you with a hangover the morning after, but even if you haven’t overindulged it’s a great brain-booster for any day.
The cacao nibs (a healthy alternative to milk chocolate chips) contain a chemical compound known as phenylethylamine (PEA), which contributes to feelings of alertness and enhanced focus, and the chocolate espresso beans do the same by perking you up with 5 milligrams of caffeine per bean. With a little green banana flour thrown into the mix, you’re covered on a multitude of health bases.
So now you know where green banana flour comes from, how readily it can be used in gluten-free recipes, and the many health benefits you can expect from consuming it. The light is green for this one: go bananas!