f someone asked you what first comes to mind when you think of a banana, some obvious things you may say: they taste good, they are delicious in smoothies, they were once spelled repeatedly in a Gwen Stefani song. That’s a good start, but there is so much more. Here are seven things you may not know about bananas:
1. Bananas seem to have some sort of superhero power to them.
OK, they’re not exactly Superman or Wonder Woman, but here are just a few of the “super powers” that a banana has:
- The potassium in bananas can help make you more alert. They’re perfect right before a test or a big meeting.
- Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite or poison ivy will soothe it and keep it from itching.
- No mosquito bites? You can rub the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes with a dry cloth for a great, quick shine.
- Bananas can also help lower your body temperature and remove warts. No word yet on whether or not they have X-ray vision.
2. Eating a banana can cheer you up.
Bananas contain tryptophan, which your body converts to serotonin - a natural chemical which helps combat depression and makes you happy. In addition, bananas may also reduce the risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure and keep you from cramping. Doesn’t knowing that make you a happier person? Thanks, banana!
3. Bananas are the top selling item at Walmart.
As of January 2015, the banana continued to be the top selling item at Walmart, for several years running. Walmart does over $405 billion of annual sales and has over 200 million shoppers each week, and it reportedly sells over 1 billion pounds of banana each year. Take that, bathroom towel.
4. Bananas are radioactive.
Yes, bananas are in fact slightly radioactive, because they contain potassium and potassium decays. But the level of radiation is so incredibly low, that you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
5. Bananas don’t grow on trees.
Bananas grow from a root structure that produces an above ground stem. The stems are sturdy, and they seem tree-like, but they contain no woody tissue. The plants on which bananas grow are actually classified as an herb - the largest herb in the world - and they are in the same family as lilies and palms. Technically, the banana fruit is the berry of the plant (though it may not look like a berry).
6. Americans eat 28 pounds of bananas each year.
That’s a lot of bananas. In fact, Americans eat as many bananas as apples and oranges combined (by comparison, Americans eat about 15 pounds of apples a year). Recent stats show that over 96% of households purchase bananas at least once a month. One explanation for this: bananas are not only delicious, but they are also one of the most affordable fruits in the supermarket. Bananas are actually cheaper today than they were in the 1980’s.
7. Last year, a man robbed a store armed only with a banana in hand.
Last September, a man armed with only a banana in his hand robbed a convenience store in Philadelphia and rode off on his bike. Videotape shows that he stuffed a banana from the counter in to his pocket and made it seem like he had a gun. He unfortunately was able to get away, tough it would have been sweet, sweet justice if he slipped on a banana peel while he was making his escape.