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Nine Facts You Won’t Believe About Bananas

Updated on May 14, 2015
Bananas are delicious, nutritious -- and extremely unique.
Bananas are delicious, nutritious -- and extremely unique. | Source

Convenient, healthy and delicious, bananas are a popular snack among people of all ages. You likely have enjoyed bananas in many different forms since you were a small child. However, that certainly does not mean that you know all there is to know about this unique fruit. You might be amazed by some of the incredible facts that have been discovered about the ordinary banana.

# 1: Banana Plants Die and Are Reborn Every Time They Produce

The banana plant only bears fruit once in its entire life cycle. Each time it produces a bunch of bananas, it dies and immediately begins growing a new plant. It only takes about ten years for the plant to develop from germination to maturity, fruit production and death.

A new banana plant begins growing immediately after the original plants bears fruit and dies.
A new banana plant begins growing immediately after the original plants bears fruit and dies. | Source

# 2: Tradition Bars Bananas from Traveling on Board Ship

It is traditionally considered bad luck to have bananas or banana-related products on a boat. No one is really certain of the origins of this old sailors’ superstition, and it is certainly not one that is adhered to 100 percent of the time. One theory is that the speed required of early ships carrying bananas (due to how quickly they spoil) increased the likelihood of poor health and other problems for the sailors, eventually leading to the modern superstition.

Some ships still adhere to the superstition of not allowing bananas on board.
Some ships still adhere to the superstition of not allowing bananas on board. | Source

# 3: India Is the World's Banana King

India grows more bananas of all different varieties than any other country on the planet, producing over 16 million tons of the fruit per year. It is closely followed by Brazil on the list of banana-producing countries.

India produces more bananas than any other country on earth.
India produces more bananas than any other country on earth. | Source

# 4: Bananas Are Extraordinarily Nutrient-Dense

A typical banana contains only about 100 calories, but it is packed with a wide variety of nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C, fiber and vitamin B6. In addition, their antioxidant content actually increases as they become riper.

Bananas are one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet.
Bananas are one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. | Source

# 5: Bananas Technically Do Not Grow on Trees

Although the term “banana tree” is frequently thrown around in casual use, it is technically inaccurate. Bananas actually do not grow on trees at all; they grow on a large plant or herb that can reach well over 20 feet tall. This makes it the largest flowering plant in the world.

Banana plants are massive, but still are technically not trees.
Banana plants are massive, but still are technically not trees. | Source

# 6: Bananas Are Prized for Their Medicinal Qualities

Bananas are enjoyed simply for their flavor and nutritional value, but they also appear in a wide variety of traditional home remedies. For example, their high potassium content means they can help treat some headaches, and applying their peel to a bug bite or sting can help relieve pain and itch.

Banana peels can be almost as useful as the bananas themselves.
Banana peels can be almost as useful as the bananas themselves. | Source

# 7: The Modern Banana Could Go Extinct at Any Time

The Cavendish is by far the most common and popular variety of banana on the market today. Hundreds of other varieties exist, but most are inedible. Modern banana plants are created by cloning them, most from a single plant originally found in Asia. The Gros Michel used to be far more widespread than the Cavendish, but it was virtually eliminated by a type of fungus. If the Cavendish is similarly eliminated (as some scientists believe is increasingly likely), finding a replacement could be difficult.

Many of the relatively few people who have had the opportunity to try a Gros Michel banana believe that it was more flavorful than the modern Cavendish banana.
Many of the relatively few people who have had the opportunity to try a Gros Michel banana believe that it was more flavorful than the modern Cavendish banana. | Source

# 8: The Banana is Actually a Berry

Because it is created by only one ovary, a banana is technically classified as a berry. Grapes and tomatoes are considered berries for the same reason, but blueberries and strawberries are not.

What type of bananas do you prefer?

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# 9: The Banana is Unbelievably Popular

While you certainly know that most people like bananas, you probably have no idea just how much they like them. Only rice, wheat and corn are a more popular crops around the world, with more than 100 billion bananas eaten per year. In the United States, an average citizen eats 26.2 pound of bananas annually, more than any other fruit.

What is your favorite way to enjoy bananas?

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    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 

      3 years ago

      This was really quite a good read - I found it very interesting. I add raw bananas to my plain Greek yogurt along with oats and honey.

    • robynlicious profile image

      Robyn An 

      3 years ago

      This was really interesting and also very sophisticated.

    • CJMcAllister profile imageAUTHOR

      CJMcAllister 

      3 years ago from USA

      Thank you guys, glad you enjoyed the article! :)

    • profile image

      garnetbird 

      3 years ago

      Nicely written and interesting!

    • radhapriestess profile image

      radhapriestess 

      3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Well written article. There are some things about bananas I did not know.

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