Can you eat a banana when it’s green? (+3 health benefits)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question“Can you eat a banana when it’s green?”. We will also discuss the benefits and side effects caused by the ingestion of green bananas, and how you can safely eat them.

Can you eat a banana when it’s green?

Yes, you can eat a banana when it’s green. Green bananas are starchy and have a firmer texture when compared to ripe bananas. So, they are a good source of resistant starch, which resists ingestion in the small intestine, making it a potential prebiotic that promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria (1,2). 

What are the health benefits of eating green banana?

Improve digestive health

Green bananas are particularly abundant in resistant starch, a type of fiber that serves as a prebiotic, supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. This not only aids in indigestion but also contributes to overall digestive health (1,3).

Benefits for your blood sugar

Green bananas have a lower glycemic index compared to their ripe counterparts, making them a suitable option for individuals aiming to manage blood sugar levels, especially for those with diabetes (1,4).

Source of vitamins

Additionally, they are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. These vitamins play crucial roles in immune function, nervous system health, and maintaining proper electrolyte balance (1,2). 

Some other activities found by scientific studies report that green bananas have (1):

  • Antidiarrheal properties

  • Decrease hunger and increase satiety

  • Glucose homeostasis

  • Used to cure dyspepsia

  • Anti-ulcerogenic activity

  • Reduction of body weight

  • Prevention of oxidative damage in the liver and kidney

Are there any side effects of eating green bananas?

In general, no. However, you should be aware of some concerns before eating green bananas. It’s important to note that while green bananas offer their unique benefits, they differ from ripe bananas in some aspects. Green bananas lack the high levels of antioxidants found in ripe ones, as these antioxidants tend to increase as the fruit ripens (1,5).  

You also should not eat a high amount of green bananas at the same time. Due to the higher amount of starch content and lower sugar levels, some people may experience digestive discomfort or bloating if they consume excessive amounts of green bananas, as the resistant starch can be more challenging to digest (12).

Furthermore, individuals with latex allergies may be more likely to experience cross-reactivity with green bananas, causing oral allergy syndrome symptoms like itching or swelling of the mouth or throat (6).

Pesticides used in commercial banana farming can leave residue on the fruit’s skin, as they are applied to protect the bananas from pests and diseases (7).

You should also keep in mind that pathogens like bacteria or molds can contaminate bananas during cultivation, harvest, and transportation. Crown rot is the main disease of bananas, and it’s caused by several fungi, including Colletotrichum musae, Fusarium semitectum, Acremonium sp., and others (8).

How can you safely eat a banana when it’s green?

To safely eat a banana when it’s green, start by washing it under running water to remove potential surface contaminants. Then, peel the banana, as the skin may contain pesticide residues (9).

Green bananas can have a starchy and somewhat astringent taste, so they are often used in cooked dishes. Boiling, frying, or baking can soften their texture and enhance their flavor, making them more palatable.

Keep in mind that the cooking process can alter the nutritional content of green bananas, especially if you cook for a long duration. Some vitamins like vitamins C and B may degrade due to heat sensitivity. However, cooking can also make some nutrients more bioavailable (10). 

How to keep your bananas green?

To keep your bananas green and extend the green phase, you should start keeping them away from other ripe fruits or vegetables. These foods are high in ethylene and other plant hormones, which can affect the time of ripening of your bananas. Wrap the stem ends in plastic wrap to reduce ethylene gas emission (8).

Another option you should consider is to refrigerate or freeze green bananas to slow down the ripening process. However, this may lead to the peel becoming brown or having chilling injury, so place them in a plastic bag to minimize this effect (11).


In this brief guide, we have addressed the question “Can you eat a banana when it’s green?”. We have also talked about the benefits and side effects caused by the ingestion of green bananas and how you can safely eat them.


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Falcomer AL, et al. Health Benefits of Green Banana Consumption: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 2022, 11(6):1222


Fahrasmane L, et al. Bananas, a source of compounds with health properties. Acta Horticulturae, 2014, 1040(1040):75-82


DeMartino P, Cockburn DW. Resistant starch: impact on the gut microbiome and health. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2020, 61:66-71.


Xiong K, Wang J, Kang T, Xu F, Ma A. Effects of resistant starch on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2021, 14;125(11):1260-1269.


Borges CV, et al. Nutritional value and antioxidant compounds during the ripening and after domestic cooking of bananas and plantains. Food Research International, 2020, 132, 2020,109061.


Wagner S, Breiteneder H. The latex-fruit syndrome. Biochem Soc Trans. 2002, 30(Pt 6):935-40. 


Gomes HO, Menezes JMC, da Costa JGM, Coutinho HDM, Teixeira RNP, do Nascimento RF. Evaluating the presence of pesticides in bananas: An integrative review. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2020, 189:110016.


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Andress EL, et al. Preserving food: Freezing fruits. University of Georgia Extension, 2019.


Lal MK, et al. Glycemic index of starchy crops and factors affecting its digestibility: A review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2021, 111, 741-755.