(SKY NEWS) – Banana eaters traditionally peel off the skin, chuck it in the bin and then devour the soft yellow fruit inside.
But one dietitian has claimed eating banana peel can improve people’s sleep, give them healthier skin and also help with weight loss.
Susie Burrell wrote in her blog Shape Me that eating the peel can increase a person’s “overall fibre content by at least 10% as a lot of dietary fibre can be found in the skin of a banana”.
The Australian dietitian adds: “You will get almost 20% more Vitamin B6 and almost 20% more Vitamin C and you will boost both your potassium and magnesium intake.”
The NHS recommends eating foods high in fibre when trying to lose weight, and Vitamin C is known to help with maintaining healthy skin.
Ms Burrell assures her readers she is not telling them to bite down on the “bright yellow banana skin along with the banana”.
She advises people to cook the skin to soften it up and help break some of the cell walls, which in turn will make the nutrients easy to absorb.
Ms Burrell says the skin can be included in recipes for smoothies, baked good and curries.
The dietitian writes that blending the skin into recipes or smoothies is the most practical way to use them, and adds: “Here you will increase the volume and nutritional content of recipes with minimal change to taste and texture of the cooking.”
She continues: “For example if you make your smoothie with a whole banana, chop the ends of the skin, chop into small pieces and simply blend with the rest of the smoothie.
“For recipes such as muffins or banana bread, cooking the skin first before mixing it into the recipe is an easy way to incorporate them.”
Ms Burrell, who is a brand ambassador for the company Australian Bananas, writes that bananas with bright yellow skins have a higher proportion of antioxidants associated with anti-cancer effects.
She adds that less ripe bananas with green skins are particularly rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is associated with good sleep quality.
Ms Burrell said green banana skins are also rich in resistance starch, the special type of fibre known to benefit gut health.
She writes that this is because green skins are better consumed after boiling in order to soften their skins.
Ms Burrell writes that banana skins also have practical use in day to day life, and says cooking meat on top of them will help boost the moisture content of any meal.
She also adds that they are great for making vinegar.
The dietitian claims people in Australia eat more than 5 million bananas a year, with eating the skins being a way to utilise the whole fruit.