1. May Improve Negative Effects of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is not so much a disease as it is a set of risk factors involving high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity and high cholesterol levels. The problem is that, while having any of these factors is risky, having them all combined worsens the situation, possibly increasing the risk of diabetes by about five times. These issues can cause heart disease and strokes too.
A study out of Brazil was conducted to understand the effects of green banana flour consumption as it relates to weight and body measurements in obese women. The thought was that since the glycemic index of banana flour is low, it could improve weight and overall health in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
The findings indicate that though there was no significant weight loss or change in body measurements, there were improvements in metabolic syndrome symptoms, including a reduction in “systolic blood pressure and fasting glucose.”
2. Promotes a Healthy Colon
A healthy colon requires a healthy gut, which is why probiotics and prebiotics are so popular today. What does this have to do with green banana flour and resistant starch? When the bacteria eats the resistant starch, it produces a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate is useful for the cells that line the colon because it keeps them healthy, even helping fight cancerous cells.
The intestines love butyrate since it keeps things working properly, which is hugely important because the intestines have the role of providing immune cells, enteric neurons, intestinal microflora and nutrients. Additionally, with a good dose of potassium also found in the banana nutrition, the cells get an added boost of support.
3. Could Reduce Insulin Sensitivity
With the resistant starch characteristics that green banana flour can provide, it may help reduce insulin sensitivity. A study out of the Louisiana State University System was conducted in mice showing that on a high-fat diet, supplementation of butyrate which is formed by the fermentation of the green banana flour in the gut — led to weight maintenance without reducing the amount of food intake. The study concluded that through dietary supplementation of butyrate, it is possible that it can prevent and treat diet-induced insulin resistance.
Furthermore, a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research examined the effects of native banana starch on glycemic responses in obese and lean subjects. The researchers specifically looked at glucose to measure effects. They concluded that banana starch supplementation “improved postprandial glucose and insulin responses in obese and lean subjects during 48 [hours] of everyday life and at [meal tolerance test].”
4. Possibly Aids Weight Loss
While resistant starch helps keep blood sugar levels in check, it also may help with weight loss. Green banana flour offers bulk, so when eaten, you may feel fuller sooner since it promotes satiety.
A study out of Mexico published in the International Journal of Environmental Research introduced native banana starch and soy milk to assess body weight as well as insulin sensitivity in obese type 2 diabetics. The study indicates that patients that consumed the native banana starch actually lost more body weight than when those same patients were on the control treatment; therefore, the green banana flour may help as a supplement to weight loss.
5. May Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Foods that are considered a source of resistant starch may help reduce cholesterol levels, which means green banana flour itself a cholesterol-lowering food. In fact, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition out of the Netherlands conducted on rats that were fed resistant starch, the effects of resistant starch showed that total cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels were lowered.