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Even with a food trends blog, sometimes trends can surprise me. The latest is banana peel tea. While this is probably not a new practice, this tea made from leftover banana peels is now trending for its possible health benefits.
So what is the deal with banana peel tea and should it replace your regular tea?
What is banana peel tea?
Banana peel tea is made by steeping the peels of ripe bananas in hot water. The process to make the tea is pretty simple.
Here is a simple recipe I found online for how to make banana peel tea:
2 ripe banana peels ( yellow with brown spots)*
4 cups of water
- Peel the ripe bananas and set the fruit aside for another use.
- Rinse the banana peels thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
- Cut the banana peels into small pieces or slices.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a pot or kettle.
- Add the banana peel pieces to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Allow the tea to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and let the tea steep for another 10-15 minutes.
- Strain the tea using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove the peel pieces.
*It is important to use ripe bananas and wash them well before use. The skin of bananas may contain pesticides or harmful microorganisms, which can seep into the tea.
The tea can be sweetened with sugar or honey if you like sweeter drinks. It is typically consumed warm or cold. To jazz it up, you can also add other ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, and lemon.
To me, this seems like a lot of work for tea, which usually simply involves dropping a bag in hot water. Simmering for 15 minutes and straining just seems like more work than is needed for a cup of tea.
My other question is what do you do with the inside of the banana? I guess you can just eat it? Freeze it for smoothies? For a recipe that tries to reduce waste, it seems like there is still waste.
But, is making this tea worth it in terms of health benefits? Maybe.
Health benefits of banana peel tea
There are a few stand-out health benefits of banana peel tea. Here is what I found:
Good source of antioxidants
One of the key benefits of banana peel tea is its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are molecules that protect the body against damage caused by harmful free radicals. These molecules can cause damage to cells, triggering oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
By consuming a diet high in antioxidants, you can help to protect your body against these conditions. Banana peel tea is one way to get more antioxidants into your diet, but all fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants as well, so this isn’t the only way.
One of the antioxidants found in banana peel tea is vitamin C. A common nutrient in fruits and vegetables, vitamin C can help to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals.
It also plays an important role in the production of collagen, a protein that is essential for healthy skin, bones, and connective tissues. Vitamin C is required for helping the body make new collagen and can protect the skin from sun damage that destroys collagen. A diet rich in vitamin C can improve the health of your skin.
But antioxidants aren’t the only nutrients in this tea, it is also a source of vitamin B6, potassium, and dietary fiber.
May support healthy digestion
Another potential benefit of banana peel tea is its ability to improve digestion. The peels of ripe bananas contain dietary fiber which can help to promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Additionally, the fiber in the tea may also help to reduce the risk of colon cancer by binding with cancer-causing toxins in the gut and preventing them from being absorbed by the body.
The only thing with relying on tea for your fiber intake is that it is not possible to know how much fiber is actually in the tea. While banana peels themselves are high in fiber, how much actually goes into the tea? I would also assume that a lot of the fiber is discarded when the banana peel pieces are strained, so it is unclear how much is left.
Banana peel tea is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of a range of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. By reducing inflammation in the body, banana peel tea may help to lower the risk of these conditions.
May Help You Sleep
Bananas are a rich source of these nutrients, which have been linked to better sleep quality and length. Magnesium and tryptophan both have muscle-relaxing properties and also play a role in producing the sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin.
However, no research has specifically evaluated the effectiveness of banana tea as a sleep aid, and it is unclear how much of these nutrients are retained in the tea during brewing. The sleep effects that some report may be due to the relaxing ritual of drinking a warm cup of tea before bed, not to the effects of the bananas themselves.
Environmentally friendly? Maybe.
People claim banana peel tea is a way to reduce food waste. While this might be true, it does allow you to use the peel of the banana that is normally discarded, what do you do with the rest of the banana?
Banana peels tend to get slimy once they are separated from the banana, so you would also have to use them pretty quickly if you wanted to make tea. Or maybe they can be frozen and used later? Once again, it seems like a lot of work to utilize something that is biodegradable anyway.
Banana peel tea side effects
While banana peel tea is generally considered safe to consume, there are a few potential side effects to be aware of:
- Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to bananas, which can manifest as skin rashes, hives, itching, or difficulty breathing.
- Interaction with certain medications: Consuming high levels of potassium can potentially interact with some medications like blood pressure or kidney disorder medications, speak with a doctor before consuming large amounts of banana peel tea.
- Digestive issues: Consuming large amounts of dietary fiber found in the banana peel can cause digestive issues like gas, bloating, and diarrhea for people who have sensitive stomachs or intestinal conditions like IBS. But it is unclear how much fiber is actually in the tea, so this will likely be based on the sensitivities of the individual.
- Pesticide residue: If you are consuming banana peels that are not washed properly or grown with pesticides, it may lead to ingestion of the toxic chemicals present in pesticides which can be harmful.
- Unripe peels: Unripe banana peels can contain high levels of tannins and other bitter compounds that can be harmful to consume. Always make sure to use ripe bananas to prepare the tea.
Should you drink banana peel tea?
I am not sold on banana peel tea. Other types of tea are also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and are simpler to make. You could also eat a banana and get many of the benefits found in the tea, in a much simpler format.
Additionally, there is little research on banana peel tea, more studies and scientific research are needed to confirm the effects and side effects. If you are concerned about your potassium levels, it’s probably best you just stay away from the tea.
In conclusion, banana peel tea is a unique and possibly healthy beverage made from the peels of ripe bananas. The tea is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can potentially provide a range of health benefits, including improved digestion, reduced inflammation, and a lower risk of certain diseases. Overall, I see no harm in drinking banana tea, you just won’t see me doing it any time soon.
P.S. Need a cute cup to hold your banana peel tea and keep it warm? Try this one!
Curious about other hot food trends? Check out our 2023 Food Trends Report.