Fact or Myth: Do Ripe Bananas Fight Cancer?

This is a FACT.

Are you one of those people who prefer to let their bananas ripen with dark spots before you eat them? Perhaps you’ve been told that the riper the banana, the less its nutritive benefit? Well, now you’ve got a rebuttal for the naysayers. The fact is the riper the banana, the better the anti-cancer quality! Japanese researchers have proven that ripe bananas fight cancer. The dark spots on ripe yellow bananas produce a substance called Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) that destroys cancerous tumors. As your banana ripens, its antioxidant levels rise, strengthening your immune system and increasing your white blood cells! In fact, ripe bananas are eight times as effective as their younger green siblings when it comes to elevating the cancer-fighting potential of white blood cells.

ripe bananaStop Tumors in Their Tracks

TNF is a cytokine that assists cell-to-cell communication in immune responses and directs cell movement towards inflammation and infection sites. It interferes with the growth and spread of tumor cells and triggers apoptosis (cell death). Researchers pinpointed that TNF produced by ripe bananas is as effective of an anti-cancer agent as lentinan, an immunostimulant injected intravenously to stimulate white blood cell production. One ripe banana a day may just help keep the oncologist away!

Yellow vs. Green

Both yellow and green bananas are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. No matter the hue, bananas nourish your gastrointestinal track and aid in digestion. Green bananas do have the benefit of being less sugary, however. When a banana ripens, its starch content consists of mainly simple, easy-to-digest sugars that elevate blood sugar levels. Insulin resistant or diabetic individuals should monitor their intake of sugary ripe bananas. As the cancer-fighting properties of ripe bananas increase, their micronutrient profile (vitamin and mineral content) does take a dip down. The solution? Mix up your fruit bowl with both fully ripe and green-tinted bananas.

Enjoying a Ripe Banana

To get maximum benefit, catch the banana at its peak ripe stage before it turns fully brown. To prevent a further dip in vitamins and minerals, store in your refrigerator. If your banana is a bit too ripe and sugary to enjoy on its own, mix in to a smoothie or bake it as part of a decadent banana bread treat.