Banana flour - what's all the fuss about? You may have recently heard about green banana flour or maybe it is totally new to you. To explain what it is, banana flour is made from green bananas which are dried and then ground into a flour. This flour has been around for a long time but has recently gained popularity due to it's vast health benefits, making it more widely available. Banana flour becoming more popular is for good reason as it is not only highly nutritional but it also offers a grain (and therefore gluten) free alternative to other flours. So what is so great about this green banana flour?
Health Benefits of Banana Flour
There are many health benefits to adding banana flour to your diet, with some listed below:
- Banana flour contains resistant starch which feeds good bacteria in the gut.
- Research has shown that as a result of the high amount of resistant starch, banana flour decreases the risk of obesity, colorectal cancer and diabetes.
- Due to its high fibre content banana flour has a positive impact on cholesterol levels, helping to clear bad cholesterol through the digestive system. This high fibre content also improves bowel regularity.
In addition to the above benefits, banana flour is highly nutritious and contains:
- tryptophan (the precursor to serotonin, our feel good neurotransmitter),
- minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese and phosphorous), and
- inulin (a prebiotic that feeds good bacteria).
But what is resistant starch?
Firstly, a starch is a type of carbohydrate found in many foods. A resistant starch is a starch that resists digestion. This means it passes through the stomach and small intestine without being changed in structure. When resistant starches reach the large intestine bacteria start fermenting it. As a result this produces short chain fatty acids that provide food for our good bacteria. Bacteria outnumber our human cells 10:1 so consequently promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut is essential to optimal health and wellbeing.
How to Use Banana Flour
Banana flour can be used cooked or raw (although it seems that there is a higher resistant starch content when consumed raw). You could try using it as a grain free alternative to wheat flour or other grain flours (eg. rye, spelt or rice), add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie to increase the resistant starch and fibre content, use in raw treats, add a tablespoon to your morning porridge or simply add a tablespoon into a glass of water. Or if you would rather play it safe you could try my recipe below for Banana Flour Berry Breakfast Muffins (click here for more information on why a balanced breakfast is so important).
The importance of having optimal gut health in reducing disease and obesity is becoming much more widely understood. Therefore choosing foods, like green banana flour, that promote gut health is a smart and easy way of promoting overall health and wellbeing. If you have used banana flour I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
- 1 large banana mashed
- 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 eggs use 2 tblsp linseeds and 6 tblsp water whisked together for egg alternative
- 1 cup natural yoghurt use alternative plant based yoghurt for dairy free option
- ⅔ cup rice bran oil
- ½ cup rapadura or coconut sugar
- 1 cup almond meal
- ½ cup linseed meal also known as flaxseed meal
- 1 cup green banana flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder aluminium free
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, yoghurt, oil and vanilla essence.
- In a separate bowl combine almond meal, sugar, linseed meal, banana flour and baking powder.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined.
- Stir the frozen berries through the mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into a well oiled muffin tin and bake for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when tested.