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16 Interesting Facts About America's
Most Popular Fruit, Bananas

Bananas are not only America's #1 fruit, they may also have been the first fruit on earth, according to the International Banana Association, which notes that banana plants have been in cultivation since history has been recorded.


If you're like the average American, you eat over two pounds of bananas a month!

Their origins can be traced into the Malaysian jungles of Southeast Asia, but one of the first records of them came from Alexander the Great in 327 B.C. He conquered India, and also discovered a sweet, yellow fruit: the banana!

You may think you know it all about everybody's "favorite" fruit, but rest assured there's more to learn. Did you know that ...

  1. Bananas were introduced to the American public in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition (they were wrapped in foil and sold for 10 cents).

  2. The banana plant is in the same family as the lily and the orchid.

  3. Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, a mineral that helps with heart function and keeping your blood pressure levels where they should be.

  4. There are hundreds of varieties of bananas, which when ripe can range in color from yellow to red, pink, purple and even black.

  5. Bananas protect against stomach ulcers. They not only contain a substance that activates the cells in your stomach lining to produce a thicker mucus barrier, but they also contain protease inhibitors, which help eliminate ulcer-causing bacteria in your stomach.

  6. Most bananas are produced in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil.

  7. The average American eats over 28 pounds of bananas each year.

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Try the Banana-Mango Pina Colada Smoothie, the Frozen Tropical Pops or any of the other decadent dishes (like spaghetti marinara, stuffed mushrooms, and broccoli in cheese sauce). This cookbook is an enjoyable and inspiring guide to delicious living.

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  1. Bananas are a rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a prebiotic that nourishes beneficial probiotics (good bacteria) in your colon.

  2. More than 96 percent of U.S. households buy bananas at least once a month.

  3. Bananas ripen best when they're not on the plant. If they're left to ripen without being picked, they split open and have a "cottony" texture and flavor.

  4. Green bananas contain short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that nourish the cells that make up the lining of your intestines. This increases your ability to absorb nutrients significantly.

  5. Banana plants (they're not trees) are the largest on earth that don't have woody stems. They can grow up to 30 feet high.

  6. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that regularly eating fruits and veggies -- especially bananas (cabbage and root vegetables were also mentioned) -- may reduce your risk of kidney cancer.

  7. To ripen a banana quickly (overnight), you can put it into a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato.

  8. The riper the banana, the sweeter its flavor. This is because as a banana continues to ripen, more of its starch is turned into sugar.

  9. Banana prices in North America have increased 8 percent from 2006, and they may continue to rise.

Recommended Reading

How to Choose the Best Fruit in the Produce Section: A Guide for 15 Common Fruits

Jicama: the Healthy, Versatile Vegetable that Tastes Like a Fruit and Acts Like a Water Chestnut

International Banana Association December 12, 2007

The World's Healthiest Foods

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