Crazy how we grow up assuming certain things about food, simply born out of habit. Peel a banana, eat it, and throw the peel away. At least that's how most of us raised in the U.S. think of banana eating. I recently learned other cultures also eat the Banana peel, cooked by frying or boiling, and sometimes eaten raw. Our animal primate friends don't peel the banana all the time either, they often eat the entire fruit.
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Many of us silly humans just assumed the peel was toxic, and that is why we throw it away, or put it dutifully into the compost. In various countries banana peels are gathered, and used a fertilizer to put the mineral potassium back into the depleted soil. Now I learn that there is actually more potassium in the peel of the banana, than in the flesh. Who knew? Not me.
The peels also contain tryptophan which increases serotonin levels in the blood and balances mood and emotions, along with lutein, an anti-oxident that protects the eyes against free radicals and UV rays. The banana peels have more soluable and insoluable fiber than the flesh, and that is good for reducing blood cholesterol levels.
Now that I know better, I have taken to leaving the ripe peel on one of the bananas that I put into our morning smoothies. Of course it absolutely must be an organic banana, because they use fungicides as well as pesticides, on regular store bought bananas. Not trusting even organic labeling, I still wash it well. Then I cut off the two dark end bits, slice into chunks, and add to the smoothie along with one old fashioned peeled ripe banana.
So instead of throwing that leftover slippery banana peel on the floor to trip up a friend, just try adding it to your smoothie instead!