Have you ever accidentally taken a bite out of a banana peel? We haven’t either. But we have had banana tea. Banana tea is a remedy to help you sleep, and it uses the whole banana – peel and all. Doesn’t sound a-peel-ing to you? (That’s the oldest banana joke in the book.) Read on to find out more about banana tea.
How Do Bananas Help You Sleep?
You’ve probably heard that bananas are full of potassium. If you have leg cramps, for example, your doctor may have told you to grab a banana. Bananas are also full of magnesium. Both potassium and magnesium relax your muscles naturally.
Furthermore, bananas contain the amino acid L-trytophan. That’s the stuff you hear about in turkey. Tryptophan is a component of serotonin, which gets converted to melatonin in your body.
So, to put it simply, bananas contain all the good stuff to help you sleep. But banana tea takes advantage of the banana peel. What’s that all about?
Well, one banana peel actually contains about 12% of your potassium for the day as well as 8% of your magnesium. Does it taste wonderful? No way. But will it help you sleep? Yes! Both bananas and their peels are great aids to help you sleep.
How Do You Eat Banana Peel?
Banana peels are stringy, chewy, full of fiber and very difficult to digest. But there are a few ways you can prepare banana peels to eat them. You could boil banana peels. You could bake or fry them for about 10 minutes. You could – if you have a heavy duty blender – blend them into smoothies.
When you cook, the heat will cause your banana peels to break down and become less stringy and chewy. But, of course, you could also make tea from your banana. Banana tea is a good way to take advantage of the nutrients in a banana peel without dealing with the cooking part.
When you make banana tea, you may lose a bit of the fiber content in your banana peel. But the potassium, magnesium and L-tryptophan content will remain. So, next time you can’t sleep, grab a kettle and brew up a pot of banana tea.
An Important Note About Banana Tea
Bananas are native to Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and some areas of the Pacific. Most of the bananas you’ll find in the stores are imported, although some are cultivated in the United States.
Bananas are cheap, seasonally as low as $.30 per pound. But, despite their wide availability, they’re potentially endangered. Back in 1965, there was a fungal disease which affected bananas in Panama. It killed off thousands of banana plants, and we were forced to come up with an alternative.
That alternative is the banana we eat today. It’s called the Cavendish, and it’s sterile. That is to say, the plant doesn’t self-propagate. Instead, new plants are created from cuttings of the old plant. There are two problems with this.
First, that means every banana we eat today is almost an exact clone of every other banana. That’s okay, but it means that the plant will ultimately be unable to adapt to environmental factors and disease. Even organic fruits might become diseased and ultimately endangered or extinct.
Secondly, it’s because of this inability to adapt that farmers spray banana crops heavily. Fungicides, pesticides and fertilizers are all used in excess to protect crops. Some of those chemical treatments are harmful to human health.
When you make banana tea, you use the porous peel. It’s very difficult to wash a banana peel. For that reason, we recommend that you choose a natural, organic banana to make your banana tea.
How to Make Banana Tea for Sleep
Alright, you’re ready to try banana tea for sleep, and you’ve chosen a beautiful organic banana. Now what?
Making banana tea is actually very easy to do. You’ll just need:
- 1 raw banana
- 3-4 cups of water
That’s it! Cut off both ends of the banana, and if you like, you can slice it up. Place the banana or slices in the water and boil the mixture for at least 10 minutes. You may choose to boil it for longer, but no less than 10 minutes.
Once your mixture is boiled, you’ll need to strain it. You can use a fine colander or strain the liquid though cheesecloth.
For best results, drink your banana tea about an hour before bedtime.
Livening Up Your Banana Tea
Banana tea has a very mild flavor, despite what you might be inclined to anticipate. You may choose to liven up your tea a bit. To do this, you can add one of a few ingredients. Consider adding:
- A dash of cinnamon
- Nutmeg (which also helps you sleep)
- Cumin (Indians add cumin to their baked bananas)
- Almond milk
- Coconut oil
Whatever you add, avoid caffeine, of course. You’ll also want to steer clear of sugar. Honey does contain sugar, so if you’re still having difficulty sleeping after you drink honey-banana tea, try a different additive.
Other Health Benefits of Banana Tea
Bananas are an oft overlooked wonder fruit. They’ll help you sleep, sure, but there are other benefits bananas provide to you. Once you’ve boiled and strained your banana tea, consider eating the banana! The mixture is edible, and makes a great dessert.
Bananas are high in fiber. That means they’re great for your heart health. Studies show that consuming high fiber foods can lower your risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
Banana tea is also great for digestion. Ayurvedic medicine practices suggest that the subtle sour taste of banana tea helps stimulate the digestive tract and help to build your metabolism.
Not convinced of any of these benefits to banana tea? How about the sheer number of nutrients in bananas? Bananas contain potassium and magnesium, but also calcium, manganese, folate, iron, niacin, B6 and riboflavin. They are loaded with nutrients that can support your overall wellbeing and at the very least help to stop symptoms of deficiencies that can include restlessness and trouble sleeping.