I can remember sitting in the classroom before the lunch bell rang, wondering “what did my mom pack today for lunch?”
And everyday, I opened my lunch box and there was a ripe yellow banana with a few black spots staring back at me. My mom always told me “you need to eat the banana, it is a great source of energy with brain boosting characteristics.”
Now you and I both know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. They help fight free radicals, reduce complicated diseases, and are rich in vitamins and minerals to give you energy.
But why bananas and their peels?
Because bananas are a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. All of these play a major role in your important bodily functions. And the banana peel has added benefits!
- 1 What Is A Banana?
- 2 Banana Nutrition Facts
- 3 Heart Health
- 4 Exercise Performance
- 5 Are Banana Peels Edible?
- 6 Soluble Fibre
- 7 Tryptophan
- 8 Lutein
- 9 How Do You Eat A Banana Peel?
- 10 Conclusion
So, let’s break down the nutritional content of a banana…
The average banana contains almost 1/10 of our Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for potassium. Also, bananas contain almost 10% of our daily magnesium and calcium requirements, and more than ¼ quarter of the RDA for vitamin B6!
What Is A Banana?
Bananas come in all sizes. They are a fruit that are grown in over 150 different countries! Here are a few cool banana facts.
Did you know…
Bananas are actually the most popular fruit in the world? And, they don’t actually grow on trees. They actually grow on tall herbs.
Now, I am sure you have seen both the miniature sized bananas and the regular sized ones in your local supermarkets, right?
This might lead you to believe that there are only two types of bananas. But, according to Banana Link, there are over 1,000 different types of bananas!
Banana Nutrition Facts
When you eat a banana, you receive all kinds of health benefits! Bananas contain numerous amounts of vitamins and minerals, including:
- The B group vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B4, and B6
- Vitamin A
It has been shown that the consumption of B6 vitamins in a study of 494 patients, reduced the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome by 68%.
So, why eat bananas if you most likely aren’t going to get carpal tunnel, right? Let’s take a look at why you should be eating bananas everyday for your health.
But, if you are someone who struggles with heart problems, then eating bananas could help in preventing high blood pressure.
Take a look at the graph below. This graph will help you understand the different classifications of blood pressure ranges in adults > 18 years old.
A medium-sized banana contains more than 400mg of potassium!
Amongst its many roles, potassium helps maintain your blood pressure within the healthy ranges above. Due to it’s, vasoactive characteristics and ability to reduce organ system complications like strokes, potassium helps increase blood flow.
This is what helps protect against atherosclerosis; a disease of the large arteries. This is the underlying cause of about 50% of all deaths in westernized societies!
Holy Sh*t is right!
Those who have diets that are higher in potassium have a substantially reduced risk of high blood pressure. Just by increasing consumption of potassium to 4.7g per day, you can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, by up to 15% and reduce risk of heart attacks up to 11%.
Including a banana as part of your diet plan, may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.
Due to their high range of vitamins and nutrients, there are tons of advantages to bananas and your health.
One benefit, specifically potassium, has muscle recovery properties after exercising. Especially in kitten pull ups 🙂
Bananas are a favorite choice amongst regular gym goers (and maybe your cat). Due to their high amounts of potassium, bananas aid with muscle contraction during muscle recovery after exercising.
Did I mention…
Bananas are what we call, low-GI food.
Since they are a low glycemic indexed food, your body slowly digest and absorbs bananas.
This results in a slow, gradual rise in your blood sugar and insulin levels. The slow release of glucose in the bloodstream helps maintain, steady blood glucose levels for a longer period of time, having proven positive benefits for endurance runners.
(Alex Redmond) Instagram page
A 2012 study found that eating bananas was just as good at sustaining energy levels as drinking an equivalent amount of carbohydrate and minerals from a popular, processed sports beverage.
Did you know…
Endurance athletes are at risk of potassium depletion? Low potassium levels can contribute to, and increase the risk of muscle cramping during exercise.
Consumption of bananas prior to an hour of exercise can keep blood potassium levels sustained, even after the training. This is due to their great source of potassium.
Are Banana Peels Edible?
With most other fruits I always eat the skin; apples, peaches and kiwi fruit. When it comes to bananas, you’re probably like me and quickly peel the yellow back like the picture above.
And after doing this research, I think I have been eating bananas the wrong way!
Yes bananas have fiber, but just like apples, the bulk of the fibre is actually found in the skin of the fruit — specifically the soluble fibre.
Soluble Fibre is important for lowering cholesterol levels, specifically to reduce our levels of the low density lipoprotein, LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Soluble fibre has cholesterol-lowering properties. The results of a study published in the Medical Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2000) showed that LDL-cholesterol dropped by 6.7%, amongst those eating more soluble fibre, when compared to the placebo group.
According to British Dietetic Association spokesperson and founder of Honest Nutrition Anna Daniels,
“The skins of most fruits and vegetables contain the richest sources of vitamins and minerals as they are affected by the light during growth, acting to absorb the light and protect the fruit.”
She also said…
Here is another benefit of bananas. Tryptophan is found in the banana peel.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that we need for the production of certain hormones. Specifically, we need tryptophan for the production of serotonin, also known as the happy hormone, which acts in the brain to lift our moods.
Researchers in Taiwan found that consuming the banana peel can ease depression because of the role it plays in the production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for balancing mood and emotions.
By eating two banana skins each day over a period of a just three days, blood serotonin levels were found to have increased by 16%.
Lutein is an antioxidant that is found in a lot of colorful foods that you should start eating to fight free radicals.
Banana peels contain lutein which is commonly known for its role of reducing oxidative stress. Lutein found in banana peels help with neutralizing free radical damage in your cells.
Lutein can also be beneficial for your eye health. Not only does lutein reduce our risks of developing macular degeneration and cataracts, it also filters out the harmful UV rays from the sun.
How Do You Eat A Banana Peel?
Of course, banana peels can be eaten raw, although they are a bit tough and don’t have the same great taste as the actual banana.
Instead, you may want to boil the peel for 10 minutes or so before eating it. My favorite way to eat it, is to throw it in my NutriBullet and mix it with my smoothie. I usually wait until the peel turn from green to yellow with a few black spots. The green ones don’t taste good.
In Asian countries, banana peels are often fried and served as a delicacy.
Okay, so I have discussed the many health benefits of bananas and their peels in this post. After doing research based on clinical studies, it might be a good idea to incorporate the peel into some of your meals.
I wrote this to share with you the health benefits of banana peels. It still is a little weird to me, but I don’t really taste them when I make my smoothies in the morning.
If you are looking to:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Improve your athletic performance
- Lower your cholesterol
- Boost your mood
- Protect your eyes
I would advise making bananas, including their peels, a regular contribution to your diet. I found a great site with banana ice cream recipes that are healthy and filled with fruits to help fight free radicals
What are your thoughts on eating a banana peel? Would you dare to try it?!