Benefits of Banana Peels
After reading the following surprising benefits of banana peels, trust me, you will think twice before tossing them into the bin! From directly eating them (yes, you heard that right!) to using them as water purifiers, the benefits you will read here are sure to open your eyes just a little bit wider.
Banana peels are the thick ropey-textured and green- to yellow-colored skin of bananas. In Western society, they are discarded while the flesh is eaten. However, many animals in the primate family consume them whole, peel and all.
Many indigenous tribes in Africa are also known to consume them whole, just as primates do. Although in Asian society, only the flesh is eaten as fruit, many know the unique and abundant benefits provided by the peels. As such, they have been used to cook delicious recipes since ancient times.
In this article, we shall explore their benefits that can be enjoyed, whether for skin and beauty, home remedy, or health.
Banana peels can be eaten raw, but many cultures around the world cook them to make them more palatable. Check out their health benefits when consumed.
1. Rich Source of Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
Fiber is best known for promoting healthy bowel movements and relieving constipation. However, did you know that dietary fiber has other benefits as well?
Banana peels are rich in soluble fiber (just like apple peels), which can help you maintain a healthy weight by making you feel full. Studies have also shown soluble fiber to reduce the risk of heart attacks and avert early onset of diabetes.
2. Fights Cholesterol
The soluble fiber in both the peel and the flesh of bananas is important for lowering cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber has been extensively studied and proven to reduce the levels of low density lipoprotein, LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
3. Boosts Your Mood
Clinical studies conducted on the properties of banana peel discovered that it contains a particular substance called tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is needed for the production of hormones like serotonin, a brain hormone, which acts as a mood booster. This property is found in banana flesh as well.
4. Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants are the much-pursued miracle substances which offer sublime anti-aging benefits. Banana peels have been found to be rich in polyphenols and carotenoids, which are phytochemicals with antioxidant properties.
Studies have found that unripe banana peels contains more of these antioxidants than ripe ones. No wonder Asian recipes fry unripe banana peels as a crispy and antioxidant rich salted snack!
5. Protects Eyesight
Another antioxidant found in banana peel is ‘lutein,' known to reduce oxidative stress and neutralize free radical damage in various organs, including the skin.
But lutein is also known to provide nutritional sustenance to the eyes by not only reducing the risks of macular degeneration and cataracts, but also by filtering out harmful UV rays and protecting cells from free radical damage.
Researchers suggest a minimum of 6mg – 10mg daily to derive the benefits of lutein. So as you increase your daily lutein intake with dark green leafy vegetables, spinach, and fruit, why not also throw in some banana peel to hit the mark?
Other Uses and Benefits
Besides the valuable health benefits of banana peels derived when eaten, there are also many more versatile benefits in daily life, from outdoor to indoor uses.
6. Meat Tenderizer
Many Asian cuisines use banana leaves to cook tender meat, but the thing is that it contains potent enzymes that can help tenderize it too!
To tenderize meat with banana peel, simply place a ripe one on your meat roasts to lock in the moisture and keep them unbelievably moist and juicy.
7. Teeth Whitening
Got yellow teeth? That's not surprising since today’s highly refined food and caffeine products are leaving everyone’s teeth stained. A very cheap and accessible way to whiten stained brown or yellow teeth is through rubbing the inner part of the banana peel of a ripe banana on your teeth!
After you eat one, simply get the inner portion of the peel and rub it back and forth on your frontal teeth with your index finger. Most of the inner portion will have transferred onto your teeth. Keep it on for least five minutes and then rinse off with water.
You may notice your teeth looking instantly brighter, but the results will be even more drastic with a couple more tries. Of course, it helps to wean off soft drinks and coffee, too.
8. Banana-tastic Bug-bite Relief
The ancient Chinese had a remedy for mosquito bites – it was rubbing on some good ol’ banana peel. Rubbing banana peel onto mosquito bites and general bug bites is an instant relief for itching and inflammation. In fact, most itchiness can get some form of relief with banana peels, including itchiness caused by poison ivy.
The Science Behind the Remedy
Bananas contain compounds called anti-histamines, which provide relief from severe itching, and also help tone down inflammation. Anti-histamines work by subduing and blocking histamines (chemical compounds released in body cells which cause allergic reactions, e.g. due to bug bites) such that the effect of the histamine is undone.
When applied to bug bites, the anti-histamines in the banana peel sink into the skin and prevent further swelling and quell itching.
9. Polishing Agent
Polish your leather furniture and silver items with banana peel for a natural alternative to chemical polishing liquids.
To clean leather furniture, simply rub the inside of a ripe banana directly onto the leather. Then clean up any ropey stuff and buff off with a cotton cloth.
For silverware and other silver items, blend banana peel with a little warm water. Rub this paste onto the items and wipe down with a cotton cloth. Dry items thoroughly with tissues and behold your new shiny silver!
10. Skin Beauty
Once you know something is rich in various nutrients and antioxidants, you can guess just how helpful it will be for your skin! Applying the inner portion of banana peels to your face alone can help you brighten and tone your skin.
Got dry skin? The vitamins and minerals in it can help you get rid of dry and dull skin by locking in moisture.
Got acne? The enzymes in banana peel can help get rid of not only acne, but dark blemishes as well.
Got wrinkles? No problem! The antioxidants in banana peel will help hydrate and promote supple youthful skin.
11. Boost Your Garden
Take advantage of the high nutritional content of banana peels to boost your garden soil, in a cheap, natural and effective way. It not only decomposes fast but also contains important minerals like potassium and phosphates which will help in the growth of healthy plants and flowers.
The best part is that you are putting banana peels to use instead of trashing them. The more you recycle, the more you help save the environment. They are particularly useful for rose bushes. Plant them nearby to protect them from aphids.
Ok, so now you’re ready to use banana peels around the house before you toss them out – but can’t bring yourself to eat banana peel just yet?
When using a recipe that calls for unripe bananas, you could use the banana with skin. Furthermore, you can boil up chopped banana peels for 10 minutes and ingest it in the form of soup with other veggies. You’ll hardly notice their taste!
The best thing about this yellow miracle? It’s readily available everywhere! Unlike other hyped-up natural foods around the world, the humble banana is cheap and ubiquitous, so why not put it to use today!
Please ensure you purchase pesticide-free, organically grown bananas if you’re planning to consume the peel. Many banana plantations are aero-sprayed with pesticides and are fertilized using artificial fertilizers.
Washing with soap may help remove some of the pesticides, but it is still recommended that you go for organically grown bananas.