Most of us know that bananas are an excellent healthy snack thanks to their high potassium content and their overall high nutritional value. But what happens when you infuse said fruit into a tea? We know what you’re thinking - banana tea?? What the heck is that?
Sounds a bit bizarre, we know.
But as it turns out, plenty of people have started to brew their bananas into a nutritious and tasty tea. Some claim that it is an especially relaxing beverage that will have you sleeping like a baby.
Hmm, really? Well, today, we’ll explore whether or not banana tea lives up to the hype by examining its health benefits and whether or not it really can put you to sleep.
What is Banana Tea?
Banana tea is basically exactly what it sounds like. By simply boiling a banana in hot water, then removing the banana, and straining the water, you have made banana tea.
Some choose to make the tea with the peel on while others remove the peel. When banana tea is made with the peel, this is usually called banana peel tea.
Many tea drinkers also add cinnamon or honey to enhance the flavor of this tea.
So, Why Even Make Banana Tea?
So, what is this tea supposedly really good for. Let's dive right in:
Bananas are known to contain a range of antioxidants such as dopamine and gallocatechin, both of which can help to counteract free radicals, thus preventing long-term damage.
Antioxidants are also a crucial part of a healthy diet as we need them for our bodily functions and immune system health. With the help of antioxidants, we are much more likely to fight off illness and viruses that enter our body.
The banana peel has been shown to have much higher antioxidant levels than the fruit inside. For this reason, banana peel tea may be a better source of antioxidants than regular banana tea.
However, it is important to consider possible nutrient degradation; many of the antioxidants found in bananas may be destroyed in hot water, so it is unclear how many antioxidants you will actually ingest by drinking this tea.
Many people eat bananas for their high potassium content. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte which has been shown to assist with a range of functions in the body, including muscle contractions, nerve impulses, pH balance, and digestion.
As far as digestion goes, a potassium deficiency or imbalance can result in bloating or constipation because muscle contractions within the GI tract become weaker, slowing the transit of food. Adding banana tea to your routine can potentially improve your gut health as the additional potassium and water will result in improved peristalsis and, therefore, help with constipation and bloating.
While studies have yet to determine whether or not the tea can actually help you to sleep, it does contain three nutrients that are essential for improved sleep: magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan.
Both magnesium and potassium have been shown to improve the length and quality of your sleep because they help to relax the muscles.
Tryptophan works slightly differently. This is an amino acid that produces hormones like serotonin and melatonin, which signal to the body that it’s time to drift off.
Some people choose to add cinnamon to their banana tea, not only for the flavor but also to kick up the relaxing properties of the tea. There is, however, little proof to suggest that adding cinnamon will actually help you to fall asleep. While some people swear by cinnamon as a sleep inducer, the only scientific reason that cinnamon may make you feel tired is by lowering your blood pressure. When your blood pressure falls too low, you may experience fatigue, dizziness, and/or tiredness.
While many people claim that the tea has helped improve their sleep patterns, there aren’t yet any studies to prove that these three nutrients are retained during the brewing process.
Low in Sugar
If you tend to reach for the tasty, sugary beverages on the shelf, banana tea may be a good alternative. In America, most people drink at least one sugary drink a day. If you replace these sugary beverages with banana tea, you’ll immediately lower your blood sugar levels as well as your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Banana tea has no added sugars, although it may have a small amount of natural sugar from the banana fruit.
As we’ve already discussed, bananas contain magnesium and potassium. Both of these minerals have been shown to improve blood pressure levels and, eventually, reduce the risk of chronic heart conditions. For this reason, banana tea might, similarly to a whole banana, improve your overall heart health. The antioxidant activity of this tea may also promote heart health as antioxidants are known to prevent many chronic diseases, one of which being cardiovascular disease. However, this is not currently validated or backed by any scientific studies.
Can You Drink Too Much Banana Tea?
You’ve probably heard that eating too many bananas can be bad for your body. Several studies have shown how it’s possible to overdose on potassium by ingesting more than two bananas a day, which could lead to serious side effects.
However, because banana tea contains a much smaller amount of nutrients in comparison to the whole fruit, you would need to drink a lot of banana tea in one day to meet the same risk.
How Do You Make Banana Peel Tea At Home?
Making banana peel tea is a little trickier than making simple banana tea without the peel. This is because the peel is much thicker and the tea can, therefore, take a lot of additional time to brew.
- Begin by filling a pot with 2-3 cups of water. Boil the water on the stove.
- Rinse a banana with the peel on. Make sure to remove any dirt that may still be on the peel.
- Slice off both ends of the banana, but leave the peel on.
- Add the banana into your boiling water.
- Reduce the heat so that your banana can simmer in the hot water.
- Leave the banana simmering for 15-20 minutes. This should be enough time for the water to penetrate the thick peel and infuse with the nutrients in the peel and in the banana.
- Remove the banana and strain the water if there are any bits floating in the liquid.
- Add cinnamon or honey if you’d like additional flavor.
Enjoy your beverage!
How Do You Make Banana Tea With No Peel At Home?
If you aren’t keen on keeping the peel in the equation, simply:
- Drop a peeled banana into a pot of boiling water.
- Let the pot simmer and steep for around 5-10 minutes.
- Taste the water occasionally to see if the water is ready.
- Use a small strainer to strain the water into another pot, removing all the banana bits.
You’ll be left with a delicate tasting, pure banana tea. Add honey or cinnamon for extra flavor.
Many banana tea drinkers keep their boiled bananas for other recipes such as smoothies or banana bread so as not to waste food.
Banana tea is healthy and easy to make, but it is unclear how much nutritional value is retained from the whole banana. There have been very few studies done on the benefits of drinking this tea. Nevertheless, it is still worth a try as an interesting way to flavor your water. Let us know your experience with banana tea below!