Nine Facts You Won’t Believe About Bananas
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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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?
# 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.