Bananas are among the most popular fruits in the world. Sweet, tasty and filling, they come with a great deal of nutrients and vitamins. How about we go bananas today and take a look at this widely popular fruit? 🙂 Here’s a list of 23 facts about bananas which you’ve probably never heard of!
1. The scientific, Latin name for banana is musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men“. Bananas are good for you and eating them is indeed a wise choice!
2. In some cultures (e.g. Japan), fiber found in banana plant is used to make fabric and sometimes even paper. The banana fabric has a natural sheen and can be a vegan alternative to silk.
3. Banana peel can be used to whiten teeth. If you’d like to try this yourself, rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes every night. If you gargle with salt water, this will heighten the effect. Apparently, you can expect results in about two weeks. The reason why it works is the presence of potassium, magnesium, and manganese in the banana peel.
4. More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world, making them some of the most popular agricultural products. That means that statistically, every person on this planet eats 13 bananas a year. I definitely eat more than that – how about you?
5. A man in India once ate 81 bananas in a half hour. I wonder whether he then took a break from bananas and if so – how long it was!
6. Bananas don’t actually grow on trees! They grow on plants that are officially classified as a… herb (which happens to be the world’s largest herb – would you believe?). If only we could easily grow bananas in herb pots in our kitchens, that would be great!
7. Speaking of the science and classifications behind bananas – technically, bananas are botanically berries, while strawberries are not!
8. Bananas first appeared in written history in the 6th century B.C., but the bananas known in those times were much different from those cultivated and sold commercially nowadays.
9. Bananas are low in calories (though higher in calories than many other fruits) and contain no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. What they do contain are vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber.
10. Study shows that eating bananas can lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as decrease the risk of some cancers.
11. About half of all people who are allergic to latex are often also allergic to bananas. This is due to some proteins bananas contain.
12. Bananas are naturally… slightly radioactive (due to their potassium content) – but the level of radiation is not high enough to cause harm. This is also the origin of a popular phrase widely used on the Internet – “banana for scale“. Some scientists would actually use the banana equivalent dose of radiation in descriptions and comparisons!
13. Bananas may be considered a mood enhancer because of the amino acid, tryptophan, and vitamin B6 that helps the body produce serotonin. When feeling down, eat a banana! (Or watch cartoons where characters slip on banana peels 🙂 ).
14. Humans share about 50% of our DNA with bananas. Saying that we’re all bananas doesn’t mean we’ve gone bananas!
15. Back to the ancient times. In 327 BC, when Alexander The Great and his army invaded India, he discovered banana crop in the Indian Valleys. After tasting this unusual fruit for the first time, he introduced this new discovery to the Western world. If there’s a reason to call him the Great, introducing these mighty fruits has to be one!
16. Today, there are over 1000 different varieties of bananas growing around the world. However, as it usually is with commercially produced foods, 95% of banana exports come from a single cultivated variety – the Cavendish.
17. Wild bananas are completely full of seeds, and are almost completely inedible. Commercially grown bananas that are cultivated specifically for consumption do not have seeds (it took many years of breeding these plants to achieve this result).
18. India is the largest producer of bananas (29.1 tonnes produced in 2016) followed by China (13.1), the Philippines (8.9) and Ecuador (7.1).
19. Now another silly fun fact. The fastest marathon completed by a runner dressed in a banana costume was achieved by a Brit, Andrew Lawrence, at the Virgin Money London Marathon, in London, on the 24th of April 2016.
20. There’s a phrase “banana republic” – it’s a term used to describe a region depending all its income on one resource.
21. In 2014, the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics (a parody of actual Nobel Prize, for trivial though interesting studies) was granted to scientists who researched why banana peels are so slippery.
22. Monkeys peel bananas upside down (or at least we, humans, would say it’s the wrong way). Maybe we should do as monkeys do? After all, they should be considered banana experts!
23. There’s a Banana Club Museum in California. It’s filled with 17000 different banana items!
So there it is! A list of 23 banana fun facts. Which of them surprised you the most?
Tomorrow’s recipe will feature a banana as its main star, so keep your eye’s peeled!
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