Are Brown Bananas Safe to Eat?

It’s a question I see asked all the time, can you eat bananas that are brown inside?

We all know that we typically have 5-6 days maximum before bananas start to turn brown (or black) on the outside.

However, every once in a while, you’re greeted with a banana that looks perfect on the outside, only to be brown on the inside.

Your heart says, eat it, and your head says, throw it away.

This is what you need to know about your brown banana.

If a banana is brown inside, it’s perfectly safe to eat. This simply means that the banana is overripe. An extremely ripe banana contains more antioxidants than its yellow or green counterparts. However, the resistant starch in the flesh of green bananas will convert to sugar in yellow/brown/black bananas. So, you may need to be wary if you’re watching your sugar consumption. Bananas can also go brown inside if they are stored below 0 degrees Celsius. Plus, “black center syndrome” is a condition caused by improper handling when bananas are in transit.

1. Is the Browner the Banana, the Better? (For Your Health)

At first glance, a brown banana may not look very appetizing, but there is a good side to this.

A banana that is brown on the inside is typically an indication that it is on the verge of becoming overripe.

This will be more obvious if it’s brown or black on the outside.

However, the riper the banana, the richer it is in antioxidants.

These antioxidants can actually prevent cell damage, which in turn is great for the immune system.

So, you could say that eating overripe bananas can actually lower your risk of disease.

Although, you don’t want to see mold or oozing in a banana.

If you do, then throw that banana away.

You’ll also find that bananas that are brown on the inside are much sweeter (more on this in a moment).

This actually makes the bananas perfect for baking.

Therefore, banana cake could definitely be on the menu.

Plus, you can also pop them into a bag, freeze them, and then blend them with peanut butter or Nutella for a delicious-tasting frozen dessert.

2. Should You Fear “Black Center Syndrome?”

Just the words “Black Center Syndrome” sound pretty horrific, don’t they?

I’ve seen people label this a disease.

There are folks who will tell you that you should throw bananas away once they’ve been “infected” with the black center syndrome.

Don’t believe the hype.

Even as long ago as the late 1980s, the black center syndrome was explained, and yet people still seem to glorify it as something terrible.

In essence, once bananas have started to ripen and are then harvested, they become extremely fragile.

Banana growers and shippers are well aware of this and ensure that they always handle bananas with great care.

However, the problem arises at the next stage as the bananas get closer to their final destination.

It is said that dropping a crate of bananas from as little as 12 inches can cause black center syndrome.

So, there has been a lot of time and effort put into training people at distribution centers and supermarkets to ensure they handle bananas with care.

With that being said, there is no way to tell if a banana is “suffering” from black center syndrome until it’s been peeled.

3. What About the Sugar Content in Bananas?

Something that you may need to be wary of in an overripe banana is the sugar content.

Green bananas that aren’t yet ripe will contain resistant starch, which is fairly difficult to digest.

However, as the banana ripens, this starch converts to sugar, which makes them far easier to digest.

Basically, this is a food type converting from a starchy carbohydrate into a free sugar.

Now, this may be all well and good from a digestive stance, but possibly not great from a health standpoint.

The higher glycemic index in overripe bananas will cause the blood sugar to rise.

So, they are best avoided if high blood sugar is an issue for you.

Are Bananas Healthy or Unhealthy?

4. Do Cold Bananas Go Brown?

Okay, in the main, a banana that is brown on the inside is perfectly fine to eat.

We’re aware that this is generally caused by the banana being overripe or not being handled with care.

However, how a banana is stored can also cause it to go brown on the inside.

If a banana is chilled below 0 degrees Celsius, it is likely to go brown.

So, this has nothing to do with it being ripe or bruised.

Perhaps, the bananas have been chilled during air freight or even in the supermarket.

Then again, maybe you placed them in the fridge straight after purchase.

Once again, they will do you no harm and are perfectly safe to eat.

In truth, as long as a banana doesn’t smell or taste funny, you’re good to go.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it’s absolutely fine to eat bananas that are brown inside.

This generally means that the banana is overripe, but it can actually be better for your health.

Additionally, how a banana is handled or stored after harvest can have an impact.

As long as you don’t see oozing or mold, you can rest assured that your banana can be safely eaten.

And if you are at all worried about the freshness of your fruit, read my advice on the best way to keep bananas in your lunchbox.


  1. Is it safe to eat bananas that are brown inside?
    Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat bananas that are brown inside. This indicates overripeness, which means the banana is rich in antioxidants but has a higher sugar content.
  2. What is “Black Center Syndrome” in bananas?
    “Black Center Syndrome” is caused by improper handling during transit, leading to a black center. Despite its name, these bananas are safe to eat unless there are signs of mold or oozing.
  3. Can cold temperatures cause bananas to go brown inside?
    Yes, chilling bananas below 0 degrees Celsius can cause them to brown inside, unrelated to ripeness or bruising. These bananas are still safe to eat.
  4. Are brown bananas healthier than yellow bananas?
    Brown bananas are richer in antioxidants but also have a higher sugar content, making them healthier in some aspects but potentially concerning for those monitoring sugar intake.
  5. What can you do with bananas that are brown inside?
    Brown bananas are ideal for baking and making frozen desserts due to their increased sweetness and soft texture.

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