Nothing reminds you of the sunny tropics like the banana does. It is a fruit that is loved by many and is grown in the warmer regions of this planet. Aside from being enjoyed fresh, cuisines all over the world feature the fruit in both sweet and savory dishes. Even if you love eating bananas, you might have seen only two or three varieties of bananas in your lifetime; but did you know that there are almost 1,000 varieties existing in the world? Here are 10 more fascinating facts of bananas to ponder upon the next time you are eating one:
- Bananas do not grow on trees. The banana “tree” is really not a tree but an herb. It is the tallest herbaceous plant known to man and can grow as high as 20 feet. More interestingly, the banana fruit is considered a berry.
- Although yellow is the banana’s most popular color, there are lesser-known varieties with red, green, purple and brown skins.
- When talking about bananas, you should refer to a bunch of fruits as a “hand” and a single one as a “finger.”
- The Cavendish, which is the most common banana variety being sold in grocery stores today, originated from a single banana plant in Southeast Asia; and most of the commercially-grown Cavendish banana plants are its clones. Because of this, a single aggressive disease can potentially wipe out the entire Cavendish population very rapidly.
- People all over the world consume more than 100 billion bananas every year. The only agricultural products that are consumed more than the banana are rice, corn and wheat.
- Americans love the fruit so much that they eat more bananas than apples and oranges. However, Ugandans are the banana’s biggest consumers. An average person in Uganda eats 500 pounds of banana every year, compared to 26 pounds for the average American.
- Bananas are naturally radioactive owing to its high potassium content. The type of isotope present in bananas is Potassium-40. This does not mean that you should stop eating bananas though. The radiation in bananas is extremely small, and you would need to ingest millions of bananas for the radiation levels to be harmful to your health.
- If you are feeling down in the dumps, reach for a banana. Each fruit contains enough Vitamin B6 and the amino acid, tryptophan, to make your body produce serotonin, a chemical that can help balance your mood.
- After eating a banana, you can use the inner part of the peel to polish your shoes or to soothe irritated skin.
- The banana is a perfect health food. It is low in calories and contains fiber, potassium, magnesium and Vitamins B6 and C.
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