Amanda Holst is an author and radio personality. She is working on two bachelors in nutrition and journalism and a career in nutrition education. Amanda Holst has written articles on the topic of nutrition including "Supercharge Your Eating With Superfoods: Some Food Pack An Extra-Powerful Punch When it Comes to Health and Nutrition," "Ten Common Questions Students Have About Eating Right," and "Cruelty-Free Food." Amanda has interviewed and wrote articles on world-renowned food activist Frances Moore, Certified Nutritionist Stephanie Woods, and Eco-Chef Bryan Au. In addition, Amanda has had the pleasure of interning for New York Times Bestseller, Marlene Koch for the release of her new latest book, “Eat More of What You Love.” Amanda has guest blogged for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formally the ADA) during National Nutrition Month. On her free time, Amanda enjoys maintaining her blog Have Your Cake and Eat It Too and spending time with her family.
Bananas Offer Natural, Effective Solution for Water Contamination
Water contamination presents a huge challenge globally. In addition to the millions of people who die each year from water-related diseases, all life forms are at risk as heavy metals (e.g., mercury) found in water tend to accumulate in fish, plants, etc. Various chemical systems which attempt to deal with this problem are expensive and often require use of materials that are themselves toxic. Natural alternatives (e.g., sawdust, peanut shells, sugar cane) have been employed with mixed results. But now researchers may have discovered a cheap, effective solution that can work even better than the chemical stuff: banana peels!
Brazilian scientists from the Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos mixed dried, pulverized banana peels with contaminated water, and measured how well they did at extracting heavy metals compared to other conventional methods. The banana peels were 200-300% more effective at absorbing copper than peanut husks, sawdust, bentonite (a clay) or perlite (volcanic glass). For lead absorption, the banana peels were 312% better than perlite, 89% better than sawdust and 42% better than peanut husks. The banana peel was so effective at absorbing these metals that it could be reused 11 times without degradation. Repeating the process allows the water to be purified completely, the researchers claim.
Given the roughly 100 million tons of bananas grown annually around the world, there's an enormous supply of banana peels that are going to waste...when they could be going to treat waste. While banana peels were once regarded as little more than the punch line of a clichéd joke, they're now being investigated for previously unimagined benefits. For example, researchers are exploring the potential of banana lectin called BanLec to provide natural, topical protection against HIV. Want to put banana peels to work at home? Try these eco-friendly peel pointers: click here.
Bonus: Natives of the Brazilian Amazon eat fish up to 700 times a year -- yet those who regularly ate tropical fruit, including bananas, had 80% less mercury buildup in their system in one study. Researchers speculate that something in the fruit – nutrients, enzymes or fiber -- acts dramatically to block mercury absorption.