30 Ways Bananas Benefit Our Health – Even The Peels!

Are Bananas Good For You Benefits

Bananas. One of the staples of diets the world over. But are bananas good for you? Turns out, bananas have many health benefits – and not just the fruit itself, other parts of the plant are useful too!

Let’s take a closer look.

Benefits of Bananas

  1. Bananas could help with weight loss. They contain complex carbohydrates that help you feel full longer.
  2. Plantains, cousins of bananas, contain high amounts of beta carotene.
  3. Bananas contain tryptophan which converts to serotonin in the body.
  4. Bananas contain more potassium than any other fruit. Potassium helps to regulate blood sugar and help your vital organs to function properly (read more about potassium here).
  5. Bananas contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, folate, magnesium, manganese, iron and fiber in the form of pectin, a water soluble fiber.
  6. Bananas are sterile until opened, making them less likely to harbor pathogens.
  7. Bananas are naturally low in salt.
  8. Bananas are naturally fat free.
  9. Bananas can be eaten raw, cooked, frozen or made into ice cream or a number of other treats.
  10. Bananas oxidize quickly and turn brown. Dip in salt water or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  11. The more yellow the banana, the more natural sugar and antioxidants it contains.
  12. Bananas can help prevent nausea associated with morning sickness.
  13. Place a banana peel on a wart and tie it on for a few hours. The wart will go away. You may have to repeat this process a few times, but it will eventually work.
  14. Bananas come in a neat, pre-made package that make them very portable.
  15. There is a large number of types of bananas. They range from the small finger bananas and ice cream bananas (yes, they really do taste like ice cream!) to the large, starchy plantains.
  16. Banana leaf can be used like aluminum foil. Wrap your food in it and place in the oven or grill to cook, or store in the refrigerator. The leaf will turn dark, but remains intact.
  17. Banana leaf contains polyphenols. One of these is the antioxidant EGCG, the same as found in green and black tea. Polyphenols can help fight diseases like diabetes and cancer.
  18. Banana leaves contain one of the compounds that make up Naproxen Sodium.
  19. Banana leaves and peels can help heal burns.
  20. Unused parts of the banana (leaves, peel, bruised fruit) can be used in mulch.
  21. The juice of the banana peel contains compounds that help heal skin and stimulate the growth of new skin cells. Use it on wounds and sunburn to help cool and soothe, and then begin healing.
  22. Banana leaves contain allantoin, a natural substance that helps heal the skin. Read more about allantoin here.
  23. The juice from banana leaves is astringent and can help with diarrhea and ulcers.
  24. Banana leaves contain the polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme that produces L-DOPA. L-DOPA is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.
  25. Plantain leaves are charred and ground for use in African Black Soap. Lye is made from the charred leaves. The less filtration, the more black the soap.
  26. A banana mat or stool, the root, can live 60-70 years, making it a very long-lived plant.
  27. Banana plants have very few pests and diseases. The worst pest is the spider mite which can be controlled by a bit of liquid soap in water sprayed on the leaves. See instructions for making your own liquid soap here.
  28. Banana leaves or peel can be shredded and used as a poultice on wounds to draw out infections.
  29. Banana plants grow large and dense, making them great for shading outside eating areas.
  30. Bananas are very easy to grow. I have a large mat of bananas that is about 30 feet across and the tallest one is over my head now. They are slow to come back in the spring, but soon provide lush tropical foliage. And oh yeah, I don’t live in the tropics. I’m in Western North Carolina.

The most common bananas for cooler climates are Musa Basjoo and Chinese Yellow. There are a few others, though I haven’t had experience with them. I had Chinese Yellow bananas in Minnesota. They require mulching in the winter. I have Basjoo here in NC, and like a lot of people in the south, I have quite a large patch. Bananas are susceptible to root nematodes and the nematodes love a poor soil. So I add plenty of mulch including comfrey (read about comfrey mulch here). Compost is essential to root growth.

My bananas produced flowers last year, but frost hit before they could fruit. I hear the fruit is fibrous and seedy. I use my banana plants for shade and I use the leaves for most all of the tips above. If you want to take your banana inside in the winter, keep it in a pot outside during the summer and take it in when the weather turns cold. The key to timing is when night time temperatures dip down to 50°. My sensitive plants come in when the nights turn cold. You can plant them in the ground and dig them again in the fall, just be aware that the plant may be very large by then! You can leave them in the ground and mulch them if you wish. I didn’t mulch mine and it got down to 0° with a windchill well below zero. We usually don’t get that cold here, but it proved the bananas could withstand it.

What other uses or benefits of bananas can you think of?

Please share in the comments section below!

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Comments

  1. Although I have not tried this, I have read web sites telling how to make green banana flour….which is gluten free.

  2. Do they take a lot of water? full sun or partial? I live in middle Georgia.
    I have always wanted to grow bananas. :-)

    • I’m sure you can grow them in Georgia, Anna, if we can grow them here. You could possibly even get them to fruit. They do take a lot of water to start, about the same as a tree. But once established, they’re pretty much on their own. Just don’t forget the compost!

  3. I have heard that banana peels can be used to whiten teeth though I haven’t tried that. Also, if you tend to get muscle cramps, eating a banana or two each week will prevent them.

  4. I read that bananas are one of the best sources of B6, along with avocado. Bananas are definitely more budget-friendly. B6 can help fight depression and PMS.

  5. I’ve heard you can use the peel to shine leather shoes. You rub it on, then it buffs up to a shine. Great for a quick fix when you have run out of polish!

  6. The peel of the banana can be used to check bleeding after extracting a tooth. wash peel and bite down on the insides as much as you can bear for one minute. Bleeding stops and pain disappears. Also don’t forget the scrumptious banana bread.

  7. I LOVE bananas! If you mash up a half of a banana with some honey in a bowl, you can apply it to your face, makes a great moisturizing face mask, 15 mins and then rinse off. Also, I live in northern Wisconsin, I want to try to grow some!

    • You can grow them outside in the summer, Sherry, though you may want to dig them and take them in for the winter. When the tops freeze, cut the stalk off at knee height. Then dig up the mat, or pad, which could be very large. Place it in a pot or plastic bag, like a garbage bag, and put it in a sheltered place that won’t freeze, like the basement. Be sure to water them once in a while just to keep them from drying out, but you’ll pretty much leave them alone. Then, in the spring, when the night time temperatures are in the 50’s plant them again. They’ll get bigger each year and you’ll be able to divide the corms after a while.

  8. Banana peel is great to rub on insect bites once bitten and if you eat enough bananas the mozzies don’t bite as much, I have also heard it is a great teeth whitener and rubbing the inside of the banana peel on you for natural protection

  9. Hi Debra,
    My wife and I read your article about bananas and the many benefits of them and also that they can be grown here in the states. We too live in western NC and would like to know what and how to begin this process. Thanks so much for any help you can offer with this. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Barry and Donna Getch
    Murphy,NC

    • Hey Barry and Donna! Murphy really isn’t far from us here in Swannanoa. I though when I moved up the mountain from Old Fort that I’d have problems, being that I came up over 1000 feet. I’m at about 2,300 right now, but my bananas are doing great. Even after this cold winter, they are over my head now. You can get corms on the internet, or a nursery near you might have some. Depending on what your elevation is or your cold hardiness zone, you might get Cavendish to live, but Basjoo and Chinese Yellow are the best bets. Don’t forget the compost and water well. I=f you have prevailing winds or it gets very cold, plant them on the south side of a house, barn or garage to give them protection. And be sure to give them room! My banana grove is over 20 feet across right now. Hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions. Deb

      • Hi Debra,
        Donna stopped at the local nursery today and picked up this banana tree….it was the last one they had and it did not have anything that identified it. The guy did say he thought it was a dwarf tree…not sure exactly what that means. He told her to call during the week and he would be able to give her more specifics on it. I can take a picture of it and send it to you…somehow (don’t know if I can attach things in this thread)…and maybe you could help with identifying it…that is if it would ever stop raining…LOL!! Thanks again for you help with this.
        Barry and Donna

  10. I know a trick for growing bananas that I’m sure some will find interesting. A friend of mine had some planted in her yard but they sat did not grow very high nor produce fruit. One day she purchased herself some ducks and since she didn’t have a body of water on her property she put out a plastic kiddie pool. Everyday the ducks would make a complete mess of the water so she would dump it and refill it each night. The banana plants happened to be downhill of the pool so whenever she dumped it the water would run over them carrying lots of raw duck manure. Those plants thrived on it and shot up like nothing you would ever believe. I’m told chicken manure has the same effect.