A study carried out in January 2018 set out to answer whether the composition of banana peels could find application in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries
Throwing away the banana peel after eating the banana? Well, after reading this, you perhaps wouldn’t want to.
Banana peels, or any peels for that matter, are usually discarded before eating the fruit. But have you ever stopped to wonder why fruits have peels in the first place?
Peels are developed by the fruit to prevent microbial infections and other harms. This means that peels of fruits like the banana have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, all weaponised to attack deadly microbes.
The peel of fruits has traditionally been used as a medicinal treatment for ailments like burns, anaemia, diarrhoea, ulcers, inflammation, diabetes, cough and even snakebites.
A study carried out in January 2018 set out to answer whether the composition of banana peels could find application in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. The research set to derive the main compound present in the peel–the phenolic compound–which is responsible for most of the exhibited properties.
Phenolic compounds were found in higher concentrations in banana peels as compared to other fruits. These compounds are rich in antioxidant, antimicrobial and antibiotic properties.
And phenolics have generally been linked to various health benefits, such as prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
The research found that different types of bananas and their peels differed in the composition and amount of phenolics. It was also found that the banana Musa paradisiaca had the most phenolics content.
Musa paradisiaca is one of the oldest types of bananas and is predominantly of Asian origin. Other Indian bananas analysed were Raja Bulu, Rastali, Karpooravalli and Kerala’s favourite Nendran.
It was also found that the maturity of the fruit significantly affects the phenolic content of the peel. Along with that, they also found that the banana peel is a rich source of prebiotic that nourishes friendly bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve the ability of the human body to absorb nutrients.
With such high nutritional content proved by science, the banana peel is surely not one to be discarded. Here are some ways you can consume the peels apart from just biting it off.
Banana Peel Curry–Thoran
What better way to go Indian than to make a curry out of banana peels! This Malayali dish is a mouthwatering combination of coconuts and bananas, including fresh banana peels. Note that soaking banana peels in a bowl of water can keep them fresh.
The Thoran is a stir-fry dish consisting of shallots, black mustard seeds, green and red chillies, turmeric powder and of course, banana peels. It takes about 30 minutes to cook and pairs well with steamed rice.
Read the recipe here.
When and if you are making a banana smoothie, you can also add chopped up pieces of the peel into the mixer. This easy step ensures that you get the best out of your banana and leaves no waste!
Banana tea and chutney
Yep! You read that right.
You can make banana tea with the peels. Boil the peels in water for a few minutes and drink it with a dash of honey!
You can also make delicious banana chutney! Boil the peels and grind them along with green chillies, garlic, salt and turmeric powder.
Fry the mix in oil until the water evaporates. And voila, you have yourself a banana chutney!
Read the recipe here.
Pickled and powdered
Banana peels have also proved beneficial when pickled and can be used up to a year after pickling. For this, you can even use the peels of unripened bananas for that sour pickle taste.
Also, powdered banana peels are an amazing way of incorporating the nutrition into your diet. Once dried, the peels can be ground into powder, which can be used in an assortment of foods and even as face masks.
Other than including it in your diet, banana peels are a great homemade cure for many ailments. The peels are also known for their antacid effects.
The research paper concluded that banana peels have the potential for medicinal uses once treated and processed optimally.
They are also a great feed for livestock and can be used as a fertiliser as well.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and grab a banana for a nutritious meal that will a’peel’ to your health!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)