You might have been throwing away the best part of bananas your whole life.
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, copper and biotin, but the peels reportedly contain twice the amount of potassium and fiber as the flesh.
"The peel can contain up to three to four times higher a concentration of fiber as the fruit inside,” said Kimberly Snyder, celebrity nutritionist and author of "The Beauty Detox Foods." "Fiber is an important part of the body’s process when it comes to cleansing toxins from the body. Peels also contain a bevy of anti-aging antioxidants and vitamins."
Banana peels also contains lutein, a vision booster; tryptophan, an essential amino acid; and prebiotic fiber, which nourishes good bacteria in the colon, according to Victor Marchione, editor of The Food Doctor newsletter.
Some even believe that banana peel extract can help with depression. Researchers have said that the peel can also increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Plus, proponents argue that the peel is very low in calories, fats and sugars.
But the research is scarce.
"People are always looking for a magical food," said David Levitsky, a professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University. "This carries with it the idea that the root of all happiness lies in food. Food is essential, but it's not the magic answer to any problem."
"Today" reported that there is a lack of expert studies, and quite frankly, the bitter taste and tough, chewy texture might make you want to think twice about eating the peel.
One way to get accustomed to eating the peels is to blend them into smoothies. Another is to wait until the banana ripens and the peel sweetens, just like the flesh does.
Regardless, heath experts advise eating organic peels and making sure to wash all banana peels thoroughly before eating them to get rid of harmful pesticides.
But if eating the banana peel isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to recycle the banana's usable outer layer.
The peels can be used to fertilize plants, tenderize meat, relieve rashes and attract birds and butterflies.
So if you decide not to eat that peel, you may want to think twice before tossing it into the garbage.
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Video includes images from Kate Fisher / CC BY 2.0, jon jordan / CC BY 2.0, Claire Knights / CC BY 2.0, russellstreet / CC BY 2.0 SA and corrine brown / CC BY 2.0.