The banana is a popular fruit across the world. Innocuous enough, it is packed with nutrients—particularly potassium—and, at least to most people, tastes great. Indeed, it has long been considered a nutritional superhero among fruit, even if we may not have been eating the most important part of the banana this whole time.
Apparently, banana peel—or skin; whatever you want to call it—is quite rich in nutrients that have even more health benefits than just the meaty part alone.
According to high-profile dietitian Susie Burrell, eating the peel can actually improve sleep, boost weight loss, and enhance your skin. She says, “Specifically, you will increase your overall fiber content by at least ten percent as a lot of dietary fiber can be found in the skin of the banana. 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.”
Of course, understanding the health benefits of the peel is one thing but that does not make it any easier to eat it. Fortunately, Burrell says, you can add it to a smoothie or baked goods, or even curry.
Burrell notes that cooking the skin is actually smart because, first of all, it softens the skin. That breaks down some of the tough cell walls which makes the texture more forgiving but it also makes the nutrients easier to absorb. Blending the skin into other recipes, then, is quite a practical way to increase the nutritional content of your recipes without altering the taste [too much].
Specifically, Burrell comments, “Bananas with bright yellow skins have a higher proportion of antioxidants associated with anti-cancer effects while green skins [less ripe bananas] are particularly rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is associated with good sleep quality.”
In addition, green banana skins are rich in a special type of fibre called resistance starch which is known to benefit gut health.