Bananas are a go-to favorite: We enjoy them in our smoothies and acai bowls and even use them to make super hydrating hair and face masks. But, new research shows that bananas may have another benefit that could make them a game changer, especially in the world of skin cancer.
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As the skin of a banana ripens, it develops dark brown and black spots, which are caused by the enzyme tyrosinase. That’s the same enzyme that’s found in human skin and responsible for pigmentation. In fact, patients diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous and deadly type of skin cancer, have been shown to have higher quantities of tyrosinase in their skin.
Researchers have used these findings to create a cancer scanner, which was tested at arm’s length on the spots of bananas. They were able to conclude that the enzyme does serve as a marker for the growth of melanomas.
“These new findings are exciting and hopefully can change the way we detect and treat skin cancer, perhaps doing away with the methods we’ve used for so long,” says Washington D.C. dermatologist Tina Alster, MD.
For now, dermatologists are still relying on the standard tried-and-true measures. But maybe you’ll think twice about loading up on the SPF the next time you reach for a banana.