The Hidden Benefits of Banana Peels – Don’t Throw It Away
I love bananas. I try to eat one every day (by itself or in my shake). It’s a sweet snack that travels well (in its own packaging) and boosts the overall flavor of anything I add it to.
I don’t even yell at myself too much when I eat a banana bite by bite with a little dollop of Nutella (I call it the topping Satan created to make me stand at the counter with a knife, a banana, and the open jar). Thankfully, I found an organic cacao/coconut oil substitute that lessens my guilt but I digress
The nutritional value of one of the world’s most popular fruits is well-known. These cheerful yellow fruits have been around for four millennia and are a great source of vitamin B6, B12, C, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, fiber, and magnesium.
Their tryptophan content helps boost mood when it converts to serotonin, they’ve been proven to protect from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, they prevent anemia, strengthen bones, and guard against electrolyte depletion caused by diarrhea.
Laura Flores, a nutritionist in San Diego, explained, “Bananas are high in antioxidants, which can provide protection from free radicals, which we come into contact with every day, from the sunlight to the lotion you put on your skin.”
What you might not know are the health benefits of banana peels. Wait…did he just say banana peels? Yeah, I sure did.
Those outer skins you toss in the trash without a second thought are good for you. While I don’t personally eat them (many do and I’ll go into that below), I have a grandmother in her eighties who had an angle on banana peels benefits way before it was cool.
Reasons to Use the Peel
- Tenderize meat naturally. Wrapping meat in banana peels helps to make less expensive cuts tender while you cook them. It also prevents skinless meats from drying out during preparation.
- Whiten your teeth for less. Using a scissor, cut a section of banana peel and rub the inner layer on your teeth for about 45 seconds. If you do this daily for about a week, you’ll see the difference in a bright smile!
- Chemical-free shoe and silver polish. Rub the inside of a banana peel on your shoes, leather goods, or silver knickknacks to lift dirt and grime while leaving behind an amazing shine when you buff with a soft cloth. I’m always nervous so I do a test spot in an inconspicuous place.
- Treat minor bites and irritations. If you have warts, pimples, rashes, or bug bites, rub the inside of the peel on the affected area (or use an adhesive bandage to hold it in place) while you sleep. Place the peel in the fridge and hold against irritated areas for even more relief.
- Soothe chronic acne and skin conditions. Rub the inner peel on your face for a few minutes daily. Most people who swear by this treatment see results within a week.
- You can eat them. I know it’s counterintuitive. If you boil (washed) banana peels for ten minutes, you can puree them in a food processor and store in the freezer. Some people freeze the pulp in ice cube trays and add it to shakes (but I haven’t gotten this brave yet). It can be added to soups as well. I would think the taste would be slightly bitter so use it in combination with other foods until you know if you like it!
- Grandma’s natural wrinkle reducer. Since I was a little girl, my grandmother has used olive oil and coconut oil to moisturize her skin and banana peels to keep it wrinkle-free. Let me tell you that every friend of mine is blown away when they learn she’ll be 81 this year. Her skin looks incredible! With new rumors that banana peel benefits are also a natural UV protectant, I now understand why!
Environmentally, bananas are truly a wonderful option. Since we consume more than 3 billion pounds of the fruits annually (it’s the most popular fresh fruit in the United States), that’s a lot of peels in landfills.
- For those of you who raise animals such as rabbits, chickens, or cattle, banana peels benefit them, too! Simply grind up the peels in a food processor and add to their food. You shouldn’t give your cat or dog bananas (their bellies don’t like it).
- Use as natural fertilizer for tomatoes by wrapping peels around the roots when placing the young plants in the soil.
- Works as an excellent plant food by soaking a peel in a pitcher of water for several hours and using it to water your plants. Think of it as infused refreshment!
- If you grow your own food, banana peels are awesome! They break down quickly and seep a lot of nutrients into the soil.
Bananas are a safe food for most people and allergies are rare. Despite some internet myths, you’d have to eat more than 40 bananas within a day to trigger a potassium overdose.
One reported “side effect” might be sleepiness due to the tryptophan content! That just might make it my favorite before-bed snack (minus the Nutella).