If you don’t like to waste food, you might try to find a way to eat every part of a food or plant. When you eat a banana, you might enjoy the soft fleshy interior but what about the soft, fleshy peel on the outside? Banana peels are quite edible, and they even have some health benefits.
Banana Peels Are Rich in Antioxidants and Compounds With Anti-Inflammatory Activity
It’s not just the flesh of a banana that has nutritional goodness. Banana peels contain polyphenols — antioxidants that fight oxidative stress and boast anti-inflammatory activity. These aren’t the only antioxidants in bananas. Another study found banana peels contain antioxidant compounds including quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and cyanidin. As a banana peel ripens, its antioxidant activity increases.
The peels of bananas contain lutein, an important carotenoid for eye health; zeaxanthin, which helps filter out harmful blue light rays; and polyphenols, which protect against age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of age-related vision loss.
Banana Peels Are Rich in Potassium
Banana peels are an excellent source of potassium, an essential mineral that plays a role in muscle contractions, nerve signals, and blood pressure. An electrolyte and a mineral, potassium supports a healthy heart and blood vessels. Harvard Health estimates that most Americans get about half the amount of potassium they should consume each day. A banana or banana peel can help boost your potassium intake, which is good for your heart.
Banana Peels Are Packed With Fiber
Banana peels are rich in soluble fiber, a substance that forms a gel-like substance inside your stomach that makes you feel full. This type of fiber is linked to numerous health benefits, including reduced cholesterol levels, improved blood sugar control, and appetite control. The fiber in banana peels is prebiotic, meaning it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut to create a healthier gut microbiome. Healthy gut bacteria feed on this fiber, creating a more beneficial gut environment. That’s important since 70% of your immune system lies in your gut.
Can Banana Peels Whiten Your Teeth?
Sources say banana peels can make your pearly whites even whiter. Here’s how to use banana peel to whiten your teeth:
Rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for two minutes to whiten them naturally. Spit out any residue, then rinse your mouth with water until it runs clear. Do this once daily for two weeks, then once every other day for another two weeks, then twice weekly until you get your desired results. The evidence that this works is mostly anecdotal, but people swear by it.
Bananas Are Beneficial for Exercise Recovery
Bananas, with or without the peel, contain healthy carbohydrates that help replenish stores of muscle glycogen, the fuel your muscles use to contract. Plus, they contain electrolytes like potassium that you lose through sweat when you exercise. Researchers at Appalachian State Human Performance Lab found that eating a banana after a workout increased the level of anti-inflammatory compounds in the bloodstream. These anti-inflammatory compounds may calm sore muscles after an exercise session.
The Bottom Line
Most people often throw away banana peels after eating the fruit. This is unfortunate, as banana peels are rich in nutrients, and who wants to toss nutrients your body can use? If you eat the peel along with the banana, buy organic bananas and wash the skin thoroughly to remove debris and pesticides.
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Appalachian TODAY. “New study by Appalachian Human Performance Laboratory finds banana compounds act as COX-2 inhibitor”
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Vahid Hakimzadeh, Mahya Sheikhzadeh, Mohammad Reza Abedi. Carotenoids Extraction Optimization of Lutein-Based Banana Peel. ResearchGate. Published 2015. Accessed March 2, 2022. .researchgate.net/publication/271214966_Carotenoids_Extraction_Optimization_of_Lutein-Based_Banana_Peel
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