Is it OK to eat the black part of a banana?

Eating a banana is a common and healthy snack for people of all ages. A ripe banana can provide essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium and fiber. While the yellow flesh is the most visually appealing part, some people wonder if it’s safe or healthy to eat the blackened tips.

This article explores whether it’s OK to eat the black part of a banana. We’ll look at what causes bananas to turn black, if the black parts have any nutritional difference, and whether there are any health risks associated with eating them.

What Causes Bananas to Turn Black?

Bananas turn black due to a natural process called enzymatic browning. During ripening, bananas produce high levels of polyphenol oxidase and phenolic compounds. When the peel is opened, these compounds interact with oxygen and iron, causing oxidation that turns the banana flesh brown or black.

Enzymatic browning occurs more quickly at the tips and along any bruises or cuts in the peel. This is because those areas are more exposed to oxygen. The rest of the banana will eventually start to brown too.

While unappealing in color, blackened bananas are not necessarily spoiled or rotten. The flesh inside is simply more ripe and softer in texture compared to yellow banana flesh. The black tips and spots are harmless, though some people find the oxidized flavor less sweet.

Are There Any Nutritional Differences?

According to scientific studies, there are no major nutritional differences between yellow and black banana flesh. Both contain the same carbohydrates, fiber, minerals and vitamins. Here’s how the nutrition compares:

Nutrient Yellow Banana Flesh (100g) Black Banana Flesh (100g)
Calories 89 88
Carbs 22.8g 23.4g
Fiber 2.6g 2.5g
Potassium 358mg 348mg
Vitamin B6 0.4mg 0.36mg
Vitamin C 8.7mg 7.2mg

The main nutritional differences are small decreases in vitamin C and fiber in black parts of the banana. However, these differences are minimal and do not mean the black sections are unhealthy.

Are There Any Health Risks with Eating Black Bananas?

For the majority of people, eating blackened bananas does not pose any significant health risks. Since they still contain beneficial nutrients, the black sections can be safely consumed just like the yellow flesh.

However, there are two groups that may want to avoid very overripe, black bananas:

  • People with diabetes or blood sugar regulation issues – Very ripe bananas have a higher glycemic index, meaning they can spike blood sugar levels more rapidly compared to less ripe bananas.
  • People with gastrointestinal issues like IBS – The high polyphenol content in dark banana flesh can exacerbate digestive irritation and discomfort in some people sensitive to polyphenol-rich foods.

Additionally, if a banana has mold, that section should always be discarded. Mold produces mycotoxins that can cause health issues if ingested.

Tips for Eating Very Ripe Bananas

If you want to eat the blackened sections of bananas, here are some tips:

  • Peel and discard any parts with mold.
  • Trim off sections that are damp, leaking liquid or have an off smell.
  • Use very ripe bananas in smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods or other recipes where appearance doesn’t matter.
  • Blend blackened bananas with yogurt or milk for a sweet treat.
  • Mash black bananas and use as a spread on toast or crepes.
  • Consider freezing overripe bananas for later use in recipes.

Health Benefits of Bananas

As a whole, bananas are nutritious at all stages of ripeness. Here are some of the top health benefits bananas provide:

  • Potassium – Bananas are high in potassium, an essential mineral for blood pressure regulation, nerve function and muscle control.
  • Fiber – Unripe and ripe bananas contain resistant starch and pectin, which help digestion and feed beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Vitamin B6 – Bananas contain B6, which plays numerous roles in energy metabolism and brain development.
  • Antioxidants – Bananas provide antioxidants like vitamin C, polyphenols and carotenoids that may lower disease risk.
  • Magnesium – Bananas contain magnesium needed for bone development, muscle function, nerve transmission and immunity.

Due to their stellar nutrient profile, bananas are considered one of the healthiest fruits. Both ripe yellow bananas and blackened overripe bananas offer the same general nutritional benefits.


Why do some people dislike the taste of black bananas?

Blackened banana flesh has a more intense flavor due to the accumulation of polyphenols and sugars as starch breaks down. Some people may find the taste stronger and less sweet compared to ripe yellow bananas.

Can you use black bananas in recipes?

Yes, black bananas work great in any recipe where appearance doesn’t matter, like smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal and pancakes. The ripe flesh blends easily into batter. Simply trim off any hard, dried sections.

Do black bananas cause constipation?

No, black bananas do not directly cause constipation. They still provide the same amount of fiber for digestive health. However, people with IBS or digestion troubles may want to avoid overripe bananas as they can exacerbate discomfort.

Should you refrigerate black bananas to stop the ripening process?

Yes, refrigerating black bananas can slow down continued ripening and extend their shelf life. The cold prevents enzymes from changing starches into sugars. Peel and store bananas in a sealed bag to prevent freezer burn.

Can you freeze black bananas?

Freezing is a great way to save overripe bananas for later use. Simply peel, cut in chunks and freeze in an airtight bag. Frozen black bananas work well in baked goods like banana bread or other recipes where the banana gets mashed or pureed.


While blackened bananas may not look very appealing, the dark tips and spots are perfectly safe and healthy to eat. The black color is simply enzymatic browning, a natural process that occurs as chlorophyll breaks down and polyphenol oxidase reacts with oxygen.

According to studies, ripe black bananas offer the same nutritional profile of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as yellow bananas. The main differences are small decreases in vitamin C and fiber. As long as mold is avoided, blackened sections of bananas can be consumed just like the yellow flesh.

For most people, eating black bananas poses no significant health risks. The ripe dark flesh can be safely enjoyed in smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal and other recipes. While they may have a stronger flavor and softer texture, overripe black bananas still provide all the same nutritional benefits of fresher yellow bananas.

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