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Eat Bananas for a Bunch of Benefits

Bananas are the world's darling fruit, selling better than any other in the world. But, do you really know much about bananas? For instance, one man's banana could be another's plantain, or something entirely different. This article explains more about this delicious, nutritious, fruit than you're likely to hear about at the supermarket.

Get a Bunch of Benefits From Eating Bananas for Better Health

Bananas are by far the biggest-selling fruit in the world. Letís consider some of the more interesting facts about this curvaceous tropical fruit loved the world over.

What is it?

Banana is the common name for a number of different fruits in different cultures. What we consider bananas in our domain would not necessarily be the exact same fruit in other areas. They come in a variety of colors and sizes when ripe, including yellow, purple, and shades of red. A tropical visitor to the United States might not recognize the little yellow bunches commonly sold in grocery stores.


Bananas are thought to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea, and are also native to Southeast Asia and the tropics. They are known to exist in at least 107 countries. Bananas are primarily harvested for their fruit, but they are also used to make wine and decorative plants in some places.

Banana cultivation has recently been estimated to exist perhaps as early as 8000 B.C. Cultivation spread to areas of Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas over time through the 16th Century.

Health Benefits

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin C and B6, potassium, manganese, and iron. The banana is one source for probiotics, the ďfriendlyĒ bacteria that aids digestion, and is grouped with fruits and vegetables that are associated with a reduced risk of a variety of cancers, including breast and colorectal cancer.

Some studies suggest that eating bananas may promote dopamine production in certain individuals. Dopamine is one the 'feel good' chemicals produced by the brain, and is sometimes used in treating Alzheimerís disease. Some studies show positive results in using bananas to treat jaundice and kidney stones as well.

Bananas also help prevent lactic acid from building up in the body after exercising, preventing sore muscles in athletes and those who participate in fitness. For a healthy snack that provides energy and such benefits, a humble banana is a wise choice for eating healthy.

Fun Facts

What we know as bananas are the soft, sweet dessert food we find at the grocery store. In other countries, bananas may be firmer, starchier fruits like plantains or cooking bananas. The terms 'banana' and 'plantain' are interchangeable in many locations, which means you never know what you might get when you ask for a banana in different locales.

Banana plants are very large flowering plants often mistaken for trees. The main 'trunk' is like a pseudo-stem, sometimes growing up to 25 feet tall. Each pseudo-stem produces a single bunch of bananas, which grow pointing up rather than hanging down.

The high potassium content in bananas makes them slightly radioactive, containing a naturally occurring isotope called potassium-40. The 'banana equivalent dose' of radiation is often used by nuclear power proponents to support their arguments for safe nuclear power.

How to eat

Different cultures have developed numerous ways to eat bananas, from baking whole to deep frying or even steaming with rice. Hikers who trek Southeast Asian trails enjoy Banana pancakes as a regional favorite for breakfast. Dehydrated bananas become banana chips that make great snacks, or even special treats for training dogs.

If you think creatively, there are countless ways to enjoy bananas every day. Youíll find that bananas can perk up a spinach salad with vinaigrette dressing, for example. Grilled bananas have an interesting flavor and aroma as a side dish with grilled pork. Many people keep a bunch handy for quick, healthy morning smoothies.

Itís fun to grab a bunch of bananas and experiment with different recipes for new tastes. Bananas are an inexpensive, great tasting fruit that offers a number of important nutrients. Itís a simple snack designed to perk you up when youíre feeling tired, run down after a workout, or just in the mood for the taste of a delicious banana.

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