Bananas are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, being loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins A, B6, and C, potassium, manganese, magnesium, folate, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. They are also more or less perfectly portioned and easy to grab-and-go. Bananas are delicious on their own, but nicely augment cereal, fruit salad, and even ice cream.
But we’re not here today to talk about the banana fruit, but rather its peel. Generally discarded as trash, banana peels are actually edible and provide a whole assortment of added health benefits. Surprised? As it turns out, people use banana peels to improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and heal common skin problems.
You can both eat your banana peel and apply it topically to see the benefits. At least one potential application has nothing to do with your body at all.
One thing is for sure – you will stop throwing these valuable wrappers in the trash after you discover all the incredible things they can do. Benefit #5 can honestly improve everything about your life!
1. Stop Itching
Starting off with a topical benefit, banana peels are great for relieving the painfully distracting itch of bug bites. Massaging the raised bumps with the inside of a banana peel can provide instant results. This remedy is also reported to work on rashes caused by poison ivy or poison oak.
Science hasn’t figured out why it works, but you can’t argue with results. People who have tried it report that one application relieves itching all day.
2. Stay Regular
We don’t like to talk about it much, but skipping a daily bowel movement can be quite uncomfortable. One of the best ways to stay regular is to make sure you get enough fiber in your diet. While the banana fruit contains a fair amount of fiber, the peel itself is positively jam packed.
Eating the peel along with the fruit, or adding the peel to a smoothie, is an easy way to stay regular. If you can’t bring yourself to eat the whole peel, you can scrape out as much of the inside of the peel as possible and just eat that.
3. Whiten Your Teeth
There are lots of expensive ways to whiten teeth, and a lot of them use harsh bleaching agents that can actually wear away your enamel. This weakens teeth and can cause sensitivity. But guess what? Banana peel can whiten teeth naturally and gently due to its potassium content.
You don’t even have to chew the peel, but rather rub the inner side on your teeth every day for about two weeks. Results should start to show up after a handful of treatments.
4. Improve the Quality of Your Skin
Banana peels contain a lot of antioxidants that are great for your skin. To minimize the look of lines and wrinkles, simply rub a banana peel directly on the affected areas and leave the sticky residue for about 30 minutes before washing your face.
For all-over moisturizing, mash the peel into a paste, stir in one egg yolk, and spread the mixture evenly over your face and/or neck. Leave it for 5 minutes and then wash it off. The same treatment is also good for psoriasis, eczema, and pimples.
5. Get Better Sleep
Tryptophan is a natural chemical that supports the quality of sleep. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical that helps you relax. Banana peel has a good amount of both. So downing a banana peel before bed can go a long way towards ensuring an uninterrupted and productive night’s sleep. The serotonin in banana peel can also keep your mood even all day.
Of course, the benefit is reduced if you are made anxious by the idea of eating the peel, so again, scraping the inside or adding the peel to a smoothie can help that medicine go down.
6. Improve Eye Health
The element of banana skin that especially helps the eyes is called lutein. This is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize damaging free radicals as well as shield eyes from harmful UV radiation delivered by the sun.
Getting enough lutein on a daily basis has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration as we age.
7. Lower Cholesterol
It is fiber once again that can lower your cholesterol levels, which is critical to maintaining a healthy heart. Banana peel contains more soluble fiber than the fruit itself, so throwing away the peel wastes a valuable opportunity to bump your intake.
Soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol into your blood stream by binding with it in your intestines. Therefore, the cholesterol passes out of your body in waste rather than stays behind to clog up your arteries.
8. Destroy Warts
Warts can be a bit painful, but more than that, they are unsightly and embarrassing. The conventional approach to removing warts involves harsh acidic chemicals followed up by an agonizing freezing treatment at the doctor’s office.
A gentler way is to press a piece of banana peel to the wart, sticky side down, and secure it with an adhesive bandage. Leave it overnight and repeat the process nightly until the wart falls off. You can get faster results if you trim off the dead layer of wart each evening before applying new banana peel.
9. Polish Your Valuables
And finally, here is a use for banana peel that doesn’t involve eating it or putting it on your body. You can actually rub a banana peel on shoes, leather, and silver articles to clean them up and make them shine.
It’s the potassium content that makes peels good for this. Simply wipe the inner side of the peel all over the surface you want to polish and buff afterwards to achieve a brilliant shine.
It is well worth using the banana peel after the banana itself is gone, but there are a few things to remember. The first is that while we usually don’t wash bananas before eating them, if you are going to eat the peel, it’s important to give it a good rinse first. Unless organic, bananas are sprayed with pesticides during their growth cycle.
Next, there are a few ways to eat banana peel rather than straight and raw (which is totally fine, too). You can put your peel through a juicer or blend it into a mixed fruit smoothie. Some folks find that boiling banana peel for about 10 minutes creates a more appealing texture. But as we have mentioned, you can also simply scrape out the inside meat of the peel to get some of the benefits.
However you eat it or use it, banana peels don’t save very well. Once removed from the fruit, they blacken pretty quickly. It’s best to prepare and consume that banana peel right away. So how are you going to use yours?