When I think of banana peels, I think of monkeys playing, or people slipping. Or I think of myself being unable to get at a banana thanks to the clever contraption nature has erected around it.
Something I never think? Yum! But apparently there are some pretty good reasons why that’s what should come to mind. In some parts of the world banana peels are eaten all the time and while they may at times seem like a nuisance, they also contain a lot of the goodness you probably think is in bananas.
That’s right. All those benefits you’ve been hearing about bananas? You might be throwing more than half of them in the trash.
Why the peel is the secret to losing weight
Bananas are probably most famous for their potassium. The fact that a lot of that potassium is actually in the peel, however, has somehow been forgotten. In fact, the peel can contain as much as 40% of the potassium.
And all that potassium is just what your body needs to lose weight. It can help boost your metabolism, so that your body burns more calories, and it helps to create energy for your muscles. When you feel energized, you’re more likely to be active.
Of course, that’s just the beginning. Peels contain a bunch of other good stuff, like antioxidants, B-vitamins, and vitamin A, all of which help stoke your metabolism.
The other big thing is the fiber. The peel actually contains more fiber than the banana itself, and all that fiber helps to keep you full for longer.
Green or yellow?
You’ve probably heard a lot about the best time to eat bananas and their advantages to both. Riper bananas have more cancer fighting properties and can help your body produce white blood cells.
But for weight loss, green is a go. They contain more probiotics, which are great for helping your digestive health, ensuring that you get all that peel-y goodness. Plus, studies have shown that green peels can help raise serotonin and dopamine levels by up to 15%. I don’t know about you, but when I feel good, I do more and eat better.
Okay, but are you seriously saying I should eat the peel?
Yup! I get it. Peels are icky. Nothing about them seems yummy, but there are some good ways to use them that aren’t that gross. If you get creative enough, you might even like them.
One option is a smoothie. Just cut off both ends and throw it in a blender with some coconut milk, cinnamon, ice, and whatever other ingredients you like. If you go this route, you should use yellow peels, which tend to have a more banana-like flavor and are sweeter.
A second option for ripe bananas is tea. Banana tea! That sounds yummier, right? To make the tea, simply boil the peel (ends removed) in a pot of water for 10 minutes or so. Strain and enjoy! You can even add a little honey for sweetness.
Green bananas, on the other hand, are better for cooking. In fact, sometimes they’re sold as “cooking” bananas. Green peels tend to be starchier and willingly take on the flavors of whatever you cook them with.
You can use them to make chutneys or curries, or use them instead of potatoes. Feel free to get creative. Just remember to remove both ends.
It’s also important that you buy organic bananas to limit your exposure to pesticides and be sure to clean them thoroughly before using.
Once you give peels a try, you’ll wonder why you ever thought they were trash.