Banana Facts

1. Bananas can cheer up your mood! They are the only fruit that contains amino acids, tryptophan plus Vitamin B6, which together help the body produce serotonin. So, if you are ever feeling down, make sure to eat a banana. It’s a win-win. 2. Humans & bananas have 50% of the same DNA. 3. Bananas are a natural...



7/6/20214 min read

Banana Facts

1.      Bananas can cheer up your mood! They are the only fruit that contains amino acids, tryptophan plus Vitamin B6, which together help the body produce serotonin. So, if you are ever feeling down, make sure to eat a banana. It’s a win-win.

2.      Humans & bananas have 50% of the same DNA.

3.      Bananas are a natural antacid. Feeling a bit of heartburn? Down a banana & you’ll feel better. Bananas are also a great way to chase away muscle cramps, thanks to their potassium content.

4.      Want your bananas to ripen more quickly? Put them in a brown paper bag with a tomato.

5.      Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world: in fact, over 100 billion bananas are eaten around the world every year, & around 51% of these are eaten at breakfast time.

6.      Horticulturists believe bananas to have originated up to 10,000 years ago & some scientists believe they may have been the world’s first fruit.

7.      A banana is not a fruit, it is a herb! Bananas are considered an herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem (or trunk) the way a tree does. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem.

8.      Being easy to digest & highly nutritious, these are the first fruits offered to babies.

9.      There are over 100 different kinds of bananas & not all of them are yellow. Some varieties are actually red.

10.  It is also the most interesting fruit in the world.

11.  In the 1950s, a disease called the Panama Disease all but wiped out an entire species of banana which motivated farmers to use the Cavendish banana which we all eat today. The bananas we eat are actually all cloned from a single banana plant in southeast Asia which means that every single banana is exactly the same banana.

12.  There are over 1,000 different varieties of bananas in nature but most of them are not good to eat. Most bananas sold in stores today are the Cavendish Banana chosen because of its resistance to a fungal disease. Although it is resistant to that one disease, it is now being threatened by others & because of a lack of genetic diversity, the entire banana species is at risk of being eradicated.

13.  Bananas, as we know them, are in danger of being completely wiped out by disease. Despite the fact that there are more than 1,000 banana varieties on earth, almost every single imported banana on the commercial market belongs to a single variety, called the Cavendish. These bananas became dominant throughout the industry in the 1960s because they were resistant to a fungal disease (called Panama Race One) that wiped out what had previously been the most popular banana, the Gros Michel. But signs point, pretty convincingly, to the Cavendish's own demise within the next decade. Here's why:

14.  Cavendish bananas are sterile & seedless, so they reproduce asexually (through suckers that grow off the "mother" plant), meaning that each plant is genetically identical.

15.  This lack of genetic diversity makes all Cavendish bananas vulnerable to the threat of Tropical Race Four, a new, even more, devastating fungal disease. Race Four has already wiped out Cavendish bananas throughout Asia & Australia. Most growers view it as only a matter of time before the disease makes its way to Latin America, where it will make short work of the plantations that supply North American consumers.

16.  If you're interested to know more, read this fascinating 2011 New Yorker report on growers' efforts to cope with Race Four, or check out journalist Dan Koeppel's book Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World. & then eat a banana while tears stream down your face.

17.  Bananas get artificially ripened (after being shipped) to one of seven "shades" of ripeness. Bananas are shipped green because they're too delicate & perishable otherwise, so distribution facilities use extremely precise storage technology to then trick bananas into ripening before they go to market.

18.  "The most popular shades are between 2.5 & 3.5, but much depends on the retailer’s size & target market. The grocery chain Fairway, which sources its bananas from Banana Distributors of New York, expects to hold bananas for a couple of days, & will therefore buy greener bananas than a smaller bodega that turns its stock over on a daily basis. 'Street vendors,' Rosenblatt notes, as well as shops serving a mostly Latin American customer base, 'like full yellow.'"

19.  The Banana Distributors of New York in the Bronx is one of just three facilities that process about 2 million bananas each week for all of New York City's stores & vendors.

20.  Bananas are a favorite fruit around the world. It tastes good, it’s high in potassium, & it’s delicious when placed in a dish with ice cream & chocolate syrup.