1. We share the same DNA as a banana
You may or may not know that bananas share 50% of the same DNA as us! However, this doesn’t mean that bananas are our distant ancestors and eating them is some form of genocide. Human DNA is shared with a lot of other plants, microorganisms and primates and all living things are made up of the same basic material. The primate that shares the most DNA with humans is the chimpanzee with 98% of the same DNA sequences as us.
2. Bananas are radioactive
Did you know that bananas are radioactive? Don’t panic this doesn’t mean your health is at risk and you should stop eating bananas immediately! Bananas contain high levels of potassium and it’s the K-40 potassium atoms which are the radioactive kind, but the dosage is very mild and humans are actually more radioactive than a banana anyway as we too have harmless radioactive potassium in our bodies. We need to maintain good potassium levels in our bodies to keep them functioning well. There really is nothing to worry about. You would have to eat 10,000,000 bananas in one sitting to die from the radiation effects and that’s hardly likely now is it!
3. Bananas are an endangered fruit
Fifty years ago, a fungal diseasecalled Panama succeeded in totally wiping out the Gros Michel banana in 1965 and now a new form of the disease is attacking the widely exported and extremely popular Cavendish banana. Banana companies have started working on the cultivation of new banana varieties so that we are not so heavily reliant on one monoculture, especially when disease can annihilate an entire plant culture. Banana researchers have called for consumers to demand an increase in the variety of bananas that are produced so that we are less reliant on the Cavendish as our main banana resource.
4. There is more than one type of banana
Even though the Cavendish banana is the only banana variety available in most export markets around the world, there are thousands of other different types of banana out there for you to try on your travels. There are Apple bananas which are grown in the tropic forest of Hawaii and they are so sweet that they are often called the Candy Apple Banana. The Pisand Raja (or Musa Belle) banana is grown in Indonesia and is used to make delicious banana fritters. There’s also plantain which is banana that is more similar to the consistency of a potato and needs to be cooked before eating. Plantain is a versatile cooking banana, mainly used in Caribbean dishes, and can be fried, roasted or steamed.
5. Americans love bananas
When you think of popular American foods the first foods that probably spring to mind are fries and burgers, but actually, according to census information, Americans eat a shed load of bananas. Due to mass imports of bananas into the US, Americans now eat more bananas each year than any other fruit, with the average American consuming a whopping 25 pounds of bananas a year!Bananas reached the shores of North America in 1870 but it wasn’t until 1898 that the first shipment of bananas reached the US.
6. Bananas are actually berries
It may come as surprise to learn that bananas are actually a type of berry. When you look at the definition of a berry this only adds to the confusion! A berry is defined as any type of fleshy fruit that stems from the ovary of a single flower. It has a seed, or several seeds enclosed inside its flesh. But, bananas don’t have seeds, right? Actually, they do. The seeds of a banana are so small that you can’t see them with the naked eye. Other surprising foods that are berries include, pumpkins, tomatoes and kiwis.
7. Bananas aren’t always yellow
When you’re in the supermarket buying your bananas it’s likely that you are checking that the colour is the bright yellow banana colour that we associate with ripeness, and often we buy bananas when they are still green and ripen them at home. There are other banana varieties out there in the world that are not yellow but are still edible and delicious. The red Dacca banana grows in Australia and has a reddish-purple skin and when they’re ripe the flesh turns to a light cream pinkish colour.
8. Ripe bananas are better for weight loss
People tend to be very wary about eating bananas when they are trying to lose weight and this is probably because we associate bananas with being a denser more filling fruit, especially as one banana contains roughly 30 grams of carbs. Green bananas contain resistant starch, which is a type of indigestible carbohydrate, but the amount of resistant starch reduces as a banana ripens. So make sure you are eating ripe bananas as part of a healthy diet. Eat them one hour before your workoutto give your body the fuel it needs for exercise.
9. Bananas Give You a Boost of Vitamin C
When we think about vitamin C and fruit we instantly think of oranges, but bananas are also a great source of vitamin C. One banana provides us with 15% of our daily vitamin C requirement. Our bodies need vitamin C to maintain healthy blood vessels, reduce inflammation, produce the collagen that holds muscles, bones and other tissues together and allows our bodies to absorb much-needed iron and folate.
10. Bananas can lower your blood pressure
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure and studies have shown that eating more bananas can help to lower your blood pressure. Bananas are rich in potassium which helps to reduce the levels of sodium (salt) in the body which in turn lowers blood pressure. It is recommended that an adult’s diet should contain 4,700 milligrams of potassium in it per day. A medium size banana provides roughly 400 milligrams of potassium
11. Bananas make us feel happy
When you’re feeling low eat a banana to help make you feel happy. The magnesium in bananas acts a mood booster. It’s recommended that women should consume 320 milligrams of magnesium per day and men should have at least 420 milligrams to keep levels where they need to be to stave off depression. A medium size banana contains roughly 30 milligrams of magnesium so grab a banana when you’re feeling sad and let the bendy yellow lift your spirits.
12. Bananas help other fruits to ripen
Bananas produce a larger quantity of the gas called ethylene which is the hormone that helps fruit to ripen. So, if you have some avocados, peaches or other plums that you want to ripen quicker then stick your bananas in the bowl with them and they will help to speed up the ripening rate of your other fruits.
13. Bananas have healing powers
Not only are bananas a delicious and healthy fruit, they also have the power to heal. Apparently, if you rub the inside of a banana peel onto a mosquito bite, the oil found in the banana skin will reduce inflammation and ease itchiness. The same thing applies to minor burns. The potassium and magnesium found in banana peel can even help whiten your teeth. Rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for two minutes every night and you could see the results in two weeks. Some people swear that rubbing a banana peel on your forehead can help cure a headache, while some have used banana peel to shine their shoes and silverware.
14. Bananas cause bad luck
Did you know that it’s considered bad luck to carry bananas on boats? Although it’s never been fully explained and is regarded as merely an ancient superstition among fisherman, there are still some ships that refuse to have bananas on board as part of their cargo. Some fishermen believe that having bananas on board stops fish from wanting to bite and there are rumours among fishing charters that there was once a shipload of bananas that contained a deadly bacteria which killed everyone on board the ship. Some take this superstition to the extreme, banning all cargo that contains products associated with bananas or with the word banana in them like Banana Republic clothing.
15. India produces the most bananas
It is highly likely that the next banana you eat will have come from India. India is the largest producer of bananas, producing over 27 million tonnes of bananas per year, that’s a whopping 19% of the world’s total banana production! In India, banana crop account for almost 3% of the country’s agricultural GDP.The Indian state, Maharashtra is the largest producer of bananas with 25% of India’s banana production coming from this state, closely followed by the state, Tamil Nadu which produces 20%. In India millions of people rely on banana production for their livelihoods and bananas are a particularly important crop for subsistence farmers as it provides them with a year round income and financial security.