It’s hard to deny the deliciousness that a banana brings to the table, which is why it is one of the top five most consumed fruits in the world. According to the folks at Food Matters, eating bananas has the power to provide energy boosts, prevent cramps, lift spirits, regulate blood pressure, aid digestion and — just to end this list, not that it’s expired — battle chronic illnesses. In short, bananas rock.

However, eating them is not the only way to put bananas to good use. This unassuming little fruit, so nervous it comes in bunches, has a whole host of secret abilities. Whether or not we are eating them, bananas are handy to have around for the bedroom, garden, bathroom, and more. It’s time we start looking at bananas from angles many of us have never thought to do.

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1. For Sleep

Banana tea is a natural aid for helping tossers-and-turners sleep more soundly. David Wolfe, superfood guru, says bananas are loaded with potassium and magnesium, both which are great for the nervous system and effective for relaxing muscles. When stressed, magnesium is the first mineral to become depleted from the body. Bananas restore it. He advises cutting the ends off of an organic banana (skin on) then boiling it in a small pot of water with a sprinkle of cinnamon to make tea. (P.S. Here are some more foods that’ll help you sleep soundly.)

2. For Fertilizer

Keeping in mind that bananas are loaded with minerals, especially the peels, it’s not difficult to imagine that they can provide a healthy, natural boost for garden plants, too. There are many methods for using bananas as fertilizer. Soak the peel in a jar for a couple of days and use the mineral-infused water on plants. Or, chop up the banana peel into quarter-inch squares and bury the pieces in the soil before planting. Or, dehydrate the peels and grind them into a powder that can be sprinkled at the base of plants. Also check out: How to Enrich Your Soil Naturally with Fertilizer.

3. For Skin Treatment

Human skin also can benefit from close contact with minerals and vitamins. Plus, bananas have an antioxidant called lutein, which is good for the skin. Once a banana is eaten and enjoyed, the peel can be applied to areas with acne, rubbing them for a while with the underside of the peel, giving the skin what it needs to recover. Banana peels can also help with warts, itchy bug bites, rashes, psoriasis, and even wrinkles and scars. (Don’t use chemicals. There are other great options for healthy skin.)

4. For Damaged Hair

For those dealing with damaged hair, bananas can be used to create a rejuvenating conditioner. When Dr. Oz sent a team of researchers to find out what works best for damaged hair, they somehow came up with bananas. To make a banana conditioner, just throw two peeled bananas into a blender with a bit of water and whiz them up until they form a creamy solution similar to typical conditioner. Then, rub into the hair, letting it stay for a few minutes, before washing it away. (Forget food for thought. Try food for hair.)

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5. For Whiter Teeth

Once we get the beneath the surface, the number of ways bananas can be used is just incredible, and whitening teeth is yet another possibility. Rather than paying a heap of cash to have it done with chemicals, take a banana peel — what was destined for the compost — and rub the inside of it on your teeth, creating a paste. Try to keep the paste off the gums and lips. Then, allow it to sit for about ten minutes before brushing it away with a dry toothbrush. The potassium, magnesium, and manganese, as well as acid, in the peel reduce staining on tooth enamel, and the texture polishes it. Check out these other natural methods for whitening teeth.

6. For Silverware

While polishing is the topic, banana peels can also be used as a silver polish. Once again, we have a natural and nontoxic solution to something we normally throw a bunch of chemicals at. This time, simply rub the banana peels on the silver and buff any residue away with a cloth. (Really want to get some cleaning done? Then, check out apple cider vinegar.)

7. For the Dog

Got a dog? Got a banana? Put them together and get yourself a happy dog with a banana. They make great treats for pooches. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in bananas are beneficial to dogs, just as they are to us. They can either be used as a treat or mashed up into dinner as a nutritional boost. Be warned, however, that some dogs do not dig the smell of bananas. Get more nutritional info for treating Fido well with plants.

Ah, bananas. They just never cease to amaze. On our side as consumers, it’s important that we go out of our way to drop an extra few cents per pound to get fair trade, organic bananas so that the world, too, is being looked after.

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