Food Facts: Fascinating banana facts to go bananas about

Bananas are one of the largest plants present on our earth. They do not possess a woody stem. More than 500 varieties of bananas are known. Bananas originate from the same family as orchids and lilies. Infact, they are huge herbs and not trees as they are believed to be. The trunk of banana tree is not a trunk but it is known as “Pseudostem”. It is the Pseudostem that bears a bunch of bananas. The starch present in the fruit is converted into sugar making it sweeter. The pulp of this fruit has a sweet flavor and a cotton-like texture. Green bananas can be kept in store houses where they ripen gradually. A bunch of banana can extend upto a weight of 50 kilograms. The bananas that we buy from the shops and markets are known as hands; these are not called bunches.

Banana Facts

How do we know it?

It was the Roman emperor, Octavius Augustus, who ate banana and boosted its cultivation. In the 15th century, banana reached Western Africa. It was brought here by the Portuguese. It is however believed that banana originated from Oceania and East Asia but it survived for long in Africa. Infact, it is also believed that banana was the first fruit to have been originated on the earth. It was Alexander who discovered this exotic fruit in 327 B.C.

What’s cool?

Bananas grow out from rhizomes and bulbs. Seeds do not produce banana plants. They are perennial in nature, i.e. bananas can be cultivated throughout the year. Here are some interesting facts about this wonder fruit called “Banana”:

1. Banana leaf as a food wrapping material: The leaves of banana are so large that they can be used as a food wrapping material in place of plastic bags. South East Asia uses banana leaf for this purpose. Apart from keeping the food fresh, it also provides a sweet aroma and a great flavor to the dish.

2. Sign of good luck: Indians believe that banana flowers stand for good luck. It is for this reason that banana flowers are fixed around the head during weddings and other religious ceremonies. The flower that the tree bears is considered to be sacred and holy.

3. Banana factoids: Banana tops the list when it comes to the most perfect fruit. If you are lost in a desert, then banana is that fruit that can rely upon as it is the life saver. It has been a very famous belief that this sweet yellow pulpy fruit is a mutant strain. The strain is developed from red and green bananas used for cooking. The bananas are so sweet that they make a dessert perfect and can also be used as accent that can be added to savory dishes of your choice.

4. Bananas are herbs: Bananas are herbs and not trees. A bunch of banana takes a year to attain its proper size. After a year it can be harvested. Banana is a cousin to turmeric, cardamom and ginger. The entire tree can be used in many ways. The flowers can also be eaten. But once flowers are eaten up, fruits cannot be harvested. The yellow Cavendish of banana is particularly famous in America.

5. Banana beer: Fermented beer from alcohol is known to all. But it is surprising to know that banana beer production is also possible. You can purchase banana beer in Eastern Africa. It is very famous here.

How healthy?

Banana is a fruit that comes with many health benefits. It helps in the process of digestion and helps in maintaining a low blood pressure and sugar levels. It is due to the presence of potassium that it maintains low blood pressure. In this way it prevents the chances of a person to fall prone to stroke and heart attack. Not only this, potassium also strengthens the bones.

Eating 4-6 bananas in a week can also reduce the probability of kidney cancer, particularly in case of females. Vitamin B6 is present in bananas which eliminates the subject to fall prone to cardiovascular diseases and even type II diabetes.

Quick tips

1. Banana skins are really slippery. It was in 2001 in Britain that around 300 people slipped over the banana skin and lost their lives. So, banana peels should be disposed properly.

2. Vitamin B6 also helps in preventing mood swings and premenstrual syndrome.

3. Some people might find bananas allergic. The tongue and lips might swell. Not only this, but bananas can also cause respiratory problems as well.

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