Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
Weird fact about me: I can’t stand bananas. That said, they still have their uses, like banana bread, as a sleep aid, and to ward off aphids from roses. Wait… what?? Seriously, banana peels have a few surprises up their sleeves.
What’s in a Banana Peel?
Banana fruit is high in carbs, potassium, and vitamins C and B. The peel also boasts an impressive health profile. Here’s a breakdown of the nutrients:
- Phenolic compounds
- Carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein
You’ll also find trace amounts of some inert metals, including strontium. Our body naturally has some strontium, which may help strengthen teeth and bones.
We need carotenoids for healthy vision. A 2012 article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at carotenoid’s role in eye protection. Researchers reported lutein helps our eyes filter light and protects the tissues from sun damage. Lutein and other carotenoids rich foods do the same with skin and can help protect from sun damage.
Health Benefits of Banana Peels
Different cultures have used banana peels for centuries to help address health concerns, and now we have established science backing it up.
Germ-Fighting Banana Peels
Like elderberry syrup, oregano, and other plants, banana peels are high in antioxidant phenols. Not only that, banana peels have potent germ-fighting properties. Researchers found compounds in banana peels fight a variety of microbes that cause wound infections. In one study it was shown effective against the yeast Candida albicans.
Antioxidants in Banana Peel
In 2011, researchers looked at the antioxidant capacities of different banana peels. They found unripe, green banana peels have more antioxidants than riper peels. The higher the antioxidant levels, the more free radical scavenging it can do.
That’s not to say ripe peels don’t have their benefits… they are better at inhibiting nitric oxide activity. Nitric oxide works as a signaling molecule in the body and plays an important role in certain body functions. However, too much nitric oxide in the body leads to inflammation and chronic diseases. Researchers are exploring how inhibiting nitric oxide could lead to more positive outcomes in diseases.
Liver and Prostate Support
The carotenoids and antioxidants in bananas can also help other organ systems. In a 2016 study in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, researchers looked at banana peels for liver protection.
Polyphenols from banana peels increased glutathione, the body’s main detox hormone. The peels also reduced inflammation and protected liver cells.
As men age, it’s common for the prostate gland to enlarge, causing bladder problems, according to the Mayo Clinic. Research indicates banana peel extract may support prostate health.
A Yummy Way to Detox
Scientists are exploring banana peels as a way to purify water. They’re thought to act as an adsorbent and bind to heavy metals and pesticides, like charcoal.
In 2013, scientists used banana peels to remove pesticides from the water. A 2020 article in BMC Chemistry also found banana peel powder removes the toxic heavy metal chromium from water.
So what does all of this mean for us? While I won’t be shoving banana peels in my water filter anytime soon, eating banana peels could help with detox.
Banana Peel for Better Sleep
Both the banana and the peel contain amino acids that our body needs to make melatonin, the sleep hormone. According to an article in Forbes:
“Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP is then converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin.”
How to Use Banana Peels
The big question of course is how do we harness the benefits of banana peels? Fortunately, you don’t have to chow down on raw, unpeeled bananas to see results. You can even use banana peels in an organic garden or for pets.
Bananas for the Garden
Since banana peels are so high in nutrients, they have some handy uses in the garden. Here are some ways to incorporate banana peels into your gardening routine:
- Seedling food- Add banana peel pieces to the hole when planting seedlings. This gives them a nutrition boost when they’re first starting off.
- Deter aphids – Place banana peels around the base of rose bushes and other plants aphids like (see this post for more). Cover with a little soil to avoid foraging animals from making a visit.
- Fertilizer – Mix dried, ground banana peels into the soil or spread on top. Worms also love chowing down on them.
- Attract butterflies – Add some banana peels to a butterfly garden to attract these beautiful insects.
- Garden tea – Make a compost tea with banana peels and warm water. After steeping for a few days, use the banana tea to water the plants in your garden.
- Banana vinegar – Some plants, like blueberries, thrive in more acidic soil. You can ferment banana peels then dilute the resulting mixture with water. Use the mixture to water acid-loving plants. The method is the same as making apple cider vinegar, but with banana instead of apple peels.
- Compost – Like all fruits and veggies, bananas enrich compost. Here’s how to get started.
Go Bananas for Animal Food
Because they’re so high in nutrition, scientists are studying banana peels for animal feed. Researchers found banana peel could safely replace up to 100% of the rabbits’ typical grain-based diet.
You can also add banana peels to chicken feed. While some chicken owners feed their brood banana fruit, you can also use the peel. Chickens may not go for whole banana peels, but the peel can be chopped, dried, and added to their normal feed.
Banana Peel Recipes
It’s important to note that most bananas are heavily treated with pesticides, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. While they don’t make EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, they’re definitely not clean. Since the peel is the part getting sprayed it’s best to opt for organic bananas here. Fortunately they’re widely available and very affordable.
Here are some more ways to incorporate more banana peels into your diet.
Banana Peel Smoothie
This one is nice and simple: You can add some banana peel (along with the fruit!) to a smoothie recipe!
Banana Peel Flour
Dried and ground banana peel makes an antioxidant-rich flour. Add it to almost any baked good to replace some of the flour in the recipe. Too much banana flour though can add a bitter taste, according to 2018 research in the Journal of Science and Food Agriculture.
Banana Peel Tea
One of the simplest ways to get more banana peel in your life is to make banana tea. Chopped fresh or dried banana peel will work. Keep in mind that green peels have more antioxidants, but they’re also more drying. Here’s a banana peel tea recipe.
Banana Peel Bacon
Yes, this is really a thing! Soaked in a marinade and then cooked, banana bacon is sweet, smoky, and chewy.
Banana Peel Chutney
Unusual Uses for Banana Peels
As you can see, banana peels have many amazing uses for gardens, plants, insects, and of course humans. Packed with nutrition and health benefits maybe now we’ll think twice before throwing that peel out!
What banana peel uses are you going to try out first? Any other banana peel tips we missed? Drop us a comment and let us know!
- Akamine, K., Koyama, T., & Yazawa, K. (2009). Banana peel extract suppressed prostate gland enlargement in testosterone-treated mice. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 73(9), 1911–1914.
- Anhwange, B., Ugye, J., & Nyiatagher, T. (2009). Chemical Composition of Musa sepientum (Banana) Peels. Electronic Journal of Environment, Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 8. 437-4442.
- Badessa, T. S., Wakuma, E., & Yimer, A. M. (2020). Bio-sorption for effective removal of chromium(VI) from wastewater using Moringa stenopetala seed powder (MSSP) and banana peel powder (BPP). BMC chemistry, 14(1), 71.
- Bediako, J. K., Sarkar, A. K., Lin, S., Zhao, Y., Song, M. H., Choi, J. W., Cho, C. W., & Yun, Y. S. (2019). Characterization of the residual biochemical components of sequentially extracted banana peel biomasses and their environmental remediation applications. Waste management (New York, N.Y.), 89, 141–153.
- Carvalho, V. S., & Conti-Silva, A. C. (2018). Cereal bars produced with banana peel flour: evaluation of acceptability and sensory profile. Journal of the science of food and agriculture, 98(1), 134–139.
- Falcone, D. B., Klinger, A., de Toledo, G., & da Silva, L. P. (2020). Performance, meat characteristics and economic viability of rabbits fed diets containing banana peel. Tropical animal health and production, 52(2), 681–685.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.). Pesticide Management in the Banana Industry. World Banana Forum.
- Kamel, N. A., Abd El-Messieh, S. L., & Saleh, N. M. (2017). Chitosan/banana peel powder nanocomposites for wound dressing application: Preparation and characterization. Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications, 72, 543–550.
- Langle, Y. V., Balarino, N. P., Belgorosky, D., Cresta Morgado, P. D., Sandes, E. O., Marino, L., Bilbao, E. R., Zambrano, M., Lodillinsky, C., & Eiján, A. M. (2020). Effect of nitric oxide inhibition in Bacillus Calmette-Guerin bladder cancer treatment. Nitric oxide: biology and chemistry, 98, 50–59.
- Martins, A., Pasquali, M., Schnorr, C. E., Martins, J., de Araújo, G. T., & Rocha, A. (2019). Development and characterization of blends formulated with banana peel and banana pulp for the production of blends powders rich in antioxidant properties. Journal of food science and technology, 56(12), 5289–5297.
- Phuaklee, P., Ruangnoo, S., & Itharat, A. (2012). Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of extracts from Musa sapientum peel. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand = Chotmaihet thangphaet, 95 Suppl 1, S142–S146.
- Silva, C. R., Gomes, T. F., Andrade, G. C., Monteiro, S. H., Dias, A. C., Zagatto, E. A., & Tornisielo, V. L. (2013). Banana peel as an adsorbent for removing atrazine and ametryne from waters. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 61(10), 2358–2363.
- Stahl, W., & Sies, H., (2012, November). B-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96 (5), 1179S–1184S.
- Subagio, A., Morita, N., & Sawada, S. (1996). Carotenoids and their fatty-acid esters in banana peel. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology, 42(6), 553–566.
- Sundaram, S., Anjum, S., Dwivedi, P., & Rai, G. K. (2011). Antioxidant activity and protective effect of banana peel against oxidative hemolysis of human erythrocyte at different stages of ripening. Applied biochemistry and biotechnology, 164(7), 1192–1206.
- Vu, H. T, Scarlett, C. J, & Vuong, Q. V. (2018). Phenolic compounds within banana peel and their potential uses: A review. Journal of functional foods, 40, 238-248. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2017.11.006
- Wang, R., Feng, X., Zhu, K., Zhao, X., & Suo, H. (2016). Preventive activity of banana peel polyphenols on CCl4-induced experimental hepatic injury in Kunming mice. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 11(5), 1947–1954.
- Wong, C. (2020, September 22). Health benefits of strontium supplements. Verywell Health.