The nutrient content of a banana changes as the banana becomes more ripe. However, the nutrient change isn't necessarily bad. Regardless of how ripe or unripe a fruit is, you still gain numerous benefits from it. For example, an overripe banana is packed with antioxidants. Ripeness is not a big issue, according to the Cornell University College of Human Ecology.
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An overripe banana is easy to digest. As a banana ripens the starch in the fruit changes. An unripe banana is full of complex carbohydrates, but as the banana becomes overripe the starch changes to simple sugars. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it may result in a quicker rise in blood sugar, so diabetics should avoid overripe bananas. This change in carbohydrates also alters the taste of the fruit. A ripe banana is sweeter due to the simple carbohydrates.
Believe it or not, a brown-spotted banana is a sign that the antioxidant levels have increased. The brown spots form when the chlorophyll in the fruit begins to break down and turn into antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely beneficial for your body because they may prevent or delay some types of cell damage and lower the risk of certain diseases. A great way to use an overripe banana is in a smoothie.
The calorie count of a banana tends to be higher than many other fruits due to the high sugar level. The calories in an overripe banana versus a unripe banana remain the same though. You can expect a medium banana -- about 7 inches long -- to contain approximately 105 calories, according to the USDA. Though some nutrients are altered, all carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, which keeps the total calorie count the same.
Vitamins and Minerals
All fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals. In an overripe banana the micronutrients may decrease. Water soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, folic acid and thiamin, tend to decrease as the fruit ages. However, all bananas are full of potassium, regardless of ripeness. If you have a banana that is fully ripe you can store it in the refrigerator to minimize further micronutrient loss.