Bananas are among the most widely consumed fruits on the planet. Over 100 billion bananas are consumed annually in the world, making bananas the 4th largest agricultural product in the world, following wheat, rice, and corn.
They also can be found all over the world all year long. These fruits are nutrient-rich and offer a wide variety of health benefits. For example, banana contains Vitamin B6 that will trigger the production of serotonin—the natural chemical which alleviates mental depression.
Bananas have many interesting facts that you (probably) didn’t know. Here are a few:
Bananas don’t grow on trees
Bananas grow from a root structure that produces an above ground stem. The plant is specifically classified as an absorescent (tree-like) perennial herb. It is the largest herbaceous flowering plant in the world. Oh, and banana is not a fruit—it’s actually a berry.
Bananas are rich in fiber
A medium Cavendish banana is 110 calories and provides 30 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. In addition to fiber, bananas also contain resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested, but helps you feel fuller longer.
Bananas are actually radioactive
The potassium found in bananas is present as potassium-40 isotope. That is a radioactive version of the element. Thank God this radioactive potassium won’t cause any harm to our body.
There are many varieties of bananas
Grown in more than 150 countries, it is believed that there are more than 1,000 types of bananas in the world, which are subdivided into 50 groups. One of the most common is the Cavendish, which is also the one most frequently produced for export markets.
Bananas are good for your heart
A medium banana has 422 mg potassium while being sodium-free. The high potassium-to-sodium ratio helps to neutralize the blood-pressure raising effects of sodium in your diet. Various studies show that those who have diets rich in potassium are less likely to have high blood pressure and have reduced risk for stroke.
Bananas can cheer you up
A small banana provides 27 mg magnesium, which may help boost mood. Men and women need 420 mg and 320 mg of magnesium per day, respectively. Low levels of this mineral are linked to depression, anxiety, irritability and other mood disorders.
Bananas can reduce the risk of kidney cancer
A 2006 Swedish study found that women eating 4-6 bananas every 7 days reduce kidney cancer risk by 50%.
When is a banana ripe?
Most of us know that the color of a banana’s skin indicates its degree of ripeness. But there’s ripeness and then there’s ripeness. Here’s a precise guide to using bananas.
- Green — unripened bananas, used in soups and stews.
- Yellow with green tips — partially ripe, used for broiling, baking or frying.
- All Yellow — ripe, eaten raw or in waffles, puddings, cakes or pies.
- Yellow with brown freckles — full-ripe, raw or in salad, fruit cup or other dishes calling for uncooked fruit.
- All Brown — over ripe, if flesh is firm, still in prime eating condition.
- Blackened areas — bruised fruit and should be avoided.
Raw, unripened fruit can be irritating to your digestive system. Imperfectly ripened bananas are composed of starch but as the natural ripening proceeds, the saccharine material is converted into dextrine and glucose. Cook the starchy, unripened fruit as you would use a potato, or let them ripen at room temperature to sweeten. When they are the color you need, bananas can be stored in the refrigerator. The skins may turn dark, but the pulp will stay at the desired ripeness