Green banana flour is a grain and gluten-free flour made from green bananas that makes a good alternative to wheat flour. It has a very mild banana flavor when raw and when cooked it has an earthy non-banana flavor; it also has a texture reminiscent of lighter wheat flours and requires about 25-30% less volume.
Green Banana Flour vs Almond Flour/Ground Almonds
Green banana flour is a great alternative to using nut flours or ground almonds for baking with, since nut flours are high in polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids. The consumption of almond flour and other nut flours is an easy way to overload the body with a detrimental amount of omega-6 fatty acids plus these fats are fragile at high heat and may be oxidized when you cook with them.
Resistant Starch in Green Banana Flour
The main reason I have started eating green banana flour is because it is a good source of resistant starch, which is a prebiotic that feeds our gut bacteria. To get the benefits of the resistant starch, which is in the RS2 form, the banana flour needs to be consumed raw. If you cook with the flour the resistant starch content will be diminished.
The reason I like green banana flour as a source of RS2 is that it is essentially a “wholefood” source of resistant starch. It is made from green bananas that have simply been peeled, sliced, dried and then ground. So nothing has been added, and it is not an extract of some kind. I have recently started adding it to my morning smoothie. You can of course also buy green (unripe) bananas, peel, slice and freeze them and then add to your smoothies instead of green banana flour if you prefer. I often find that most of the bananas in the supermarket are not green enough to be a significant source of resistant starch as they are already too ripe which is why the flour is a great alternative to have to hand.
How Much Resistant Starch Does Green Banana Flour Contain?
Green banana flour is about 50% RS2 by weight, so 100g contains about 50g of resistant starch.
Non-Starch Polysaccharides in Green Banana Flour
As well as resistant starch, green bananas contain 12% non-starch polysaccharides by weight. Non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs) are those polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates), other than starches, found in plant foods. They are the major part of dietary fibre and can be measured more precisely than total dietary fibre; include cellulose, hemicellulose, pectins, glucans, gums, mucilages, inulin, and chitin (and exclude lignin). Insoluble NSPs (cellulose) are effective laxatives whereas soluble NSPs (especially mixed-link β-glucans) lower plasma cholesterol levels and help to normalize blood glucose and insulin levels, making these kinds of polysaccharides a part of dietary plans to treat cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, a major proportion of dietary NSPs escapes the small intestine nearly intact, and is fermented into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by commensal microflora present in the colon and cecum and promotes normal laxation. SCFAs have a number of health promoting effects and are particularly effective in promoting large bowel function. Certain NSPs through their fermented products may promote the growth of specific beneficial colonic bacteria, which offer a prebiotic effect.
Vitamins and Minerals in Green Banana Flour
Green banana flour is made from green bananas simply dried and ground into a powder so it contains the vitamins and minerals found in bananas. It is a good source of potassium and also contains some B vitamins.
Two Brands of Banana Flour Available in the UK
There are two brands of green banana flour available in the UK:
The only ingredient in both is green bananas and they are both roughly the same price on Amazon.
Other good sources of raw resistant starch (RS2) are:
- Green plantains – you can add this to smoothies or peel, slice and dehydrate to make plantain chips. Green plantains need to be eaten raw to retain the resistant starch.
- Plantain flour – however I have not managed to find a decent brand available in the UK, the only ones I have come across have additives.
- Potato starch – I prefer green banana flour to potato starch as it is a less refined product, however there may well be benefits in taking both types of fibre. A good brand is Bob’s Red Mill, Unmodified Potato Starch
- Tigernuts & tigernut flour
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