Is It Safe To Eat Black Bananas?

Thinking about throwing out those brown- or black-spotted bananas because you think they're bad? Don't. You'll be missing out on a powerhouse of nutrition, including health benefits you've probably never even dreamed of. 

These fruits, as it turns out, benefit their consumers in different ways depending on the stage they're eaten and the ways the bananas have been kept fresh. Underripe bananas, for example, as Business Insider observes, are better for those suffering from diabetes, because the starch in them hasn't yet converted into sugar. Ripe bananas, by contrast, are an excellent home remedy for constipation, thanks to a soluble fiber, per Well and Good, that aids digestion. 

But those older, overripe bananas with the brown and black spots? Those are the bananas you should want to eat most. For starters, they're very rich in antioxidants, reports India Today. They also relieve heartburn, soothe ulcers, prevent anemia, ease menstrual cramps, and have a host of other benefits, per Winkgo. Oh, and did we mention they also help prevent cancer due to a compound called TNF (short for tumor necrosis factor)?

How black bananas help prevent cancer

Prevention of cancer is a pretty remarkable benefit of overripe bananas. Here's how it works: The overripe banana has converted its starches into sugars, and thus become sweeter — and better for baking treats such as banana bread. As this happens, notes Business Insider, the chlorophyll in bananas breaks down, becoming more antioxidant-rich in the process. These antioxidants, per India Today, help prevent or delay cell damage in humans. The dark spots on the banana, meanwhile, precipitate the creation of TNF, a compound that kills cancerous or abnormal cells in our bodies.

Be warned, however, that eating black bananas may not always be safe. Do not wait, Life Hack warns, for the banana to become completely black, as this is evidence of reduced nutritional benefits. If the bananas are moldy, smell rotten, or have a black center — aka black center syndrome, a fungal condition — do not eat them. As The Whole Portion confirms, these are bananas to avoid. Otherwise, enjoy one of the most underrated nutritional sources you're likely to find at your local supermarket.