Bananas. There are countless ways to eat them. You can slice ’em, dice ’em, mash ’em up. You can throw them in a pie or a custard. You can put them in granola, on pancakes, or under yogurt. You can also eat them whole—peel and all.
Yes, it may sound totally bananas, but, according to Susie Burrell, a top dietitian in Australia and the author of Lose Weight Fast and Losing the Last 5 Kilos, bananas—skins and all—are superfoods. As she recently told The Sun, banana skins can help you lose weight and sleep better and even (maybe) give you glowing skin.
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“Specifically, you will increase your overall [fiber] content by at least 10 percent, as a lot of dietary fiber can be found in the skin of the banana,” she told The Sun. “You will get almost 20 percent more vitamin B6 and almost 20 percent more vitamin C and you will boost both your potassium and magnesium intake.”
Vitamin B6 is thought to be essential for “skin development and maintenance,” while magnesium is widely believed to play a role in boosting both sleep quality and duration. Potassium can help keep your heart strong and healthy, and vitamin C can help fight free radicals, counteract stress hormones, and boost your mood.
Now, we wouldn’t blame you for regarding this claim with a healthy dose of skepticism. Burrell doesn’t cite a single study to support her claim, and research into the nutritional benefits of banana peels is not exactly a major field.
Still, this claim is not entirely baseless. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Immunology Research, banana skins are rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and polyunsaturated fats. And, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, unripe banana peels have higher antioxidant levels than ripe ones, indicating that beneficial nutrients are indeed present.
There’s one more benefit—one you don’t need a dietitian or a study or a group of scientists to tell you about: Eating banana peels cuts down on food waste. And that’s something we can all get behind.
Now, there’s only the matter of actually eating a banana peel. First, be sure to wash any bananas before eating because you’re consuming the outside of the fruit, where germs gather, and you’ll want to be sure it’s thoroughly clean.
Burrell writes on her blog that “…cooking the skin to soften it will help to break down some of the cell walls within the skin, helping to make the nutrients easy to absorb.”
Next, whip out your blender for mixing the peel into a smoothie, which is the easiest way to add it to your routine.
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