Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Banana peel holds promise for moody patients: scientists

SEROTONIN The team also found that the fruit's skin can protect human eyes from light because it can help in the process of retina cell regeneration

DPA , TAIPEI

Researchers have discovered that banana peel extract can ease depression and protect the retina, a Chinese-language newspaper said yesterday.

Researchers from Chung Shan Medical University in Taichung, after two years of research, have discovered that banana peel is rich in serotonin, which is vital to balancing moods, the Apple Daily reported.

A low level of serotonin in the brain is believed to cause depression, although doctors have yet to determine the relationship between depression and low levels of serotonin.

The team also found that banana peel extract can protect the retina from damage caused by light because it can cause retina cells to regenerate.

In its clinical tests, the research team exposed two groups of retina cells -- one a control group and the other group soaked in a solution of banana peel extract -- to strong light six hours a day for two days.

At the end of the experiment, the control group of retina cells had died while the group soaked in banana peel extract had regenerated and suffered no damage.

The research team said it believes consuming banana peel by boiling the peel and drinking the water or by putting it through a fruit juicer and drinking the juice can help ease depression.

It suggested drinking banana peel water or juice every evening or several times a week.

The research team planned to launch human tests on the benefits of banana peel extract soon, the newspaper said.

Banana peel contains lutein, an antioxidant from the carotenoid family, which provides nutritional support to the eyes. Lutein can also be found in green, leafy vegetables, certain types of fruit and corn.

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