Discover fascinating Banana Nutritional Info and Banana History

So you want to know about bananas?  It’s all here!  Lots of fascinating banana history, amazing banana nutritional info, together with some interesting and fascinating banana facts.

banana nutrition facts

Do you think you can juice your bananas?  Definitely not.  The banana is completely unjuiceable – if there is such a word!  But you know what I mean, basically bananas cannot be juiced.  Nevertheless, they are a great staple addition for blended drinks, and can almost turn a smoothie into a meal in its own right.

As with most fruit, the riper the banana, the more intense the flavour and they can most certainly be used in a blended drink when they are past their best for eating.

Banana Nutritional Info

A banana contains a good supply of fibre, potassium, manganese and Vitamin C (one banana contains approx. 16% of our recommended daily amount). In their favour they are very low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Potassium is also very important for proper muscle contraction, and therefore is essential in activities influenced by the contraction of our muscles, this includes: the normal rhythmic pumping of our hearts, muscular movements and digestion in the body.

Bananas are also one of the few fruits which contain the complete range of B vitamins – B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), nB3 (niacin), B6 (folic acid) and also a llittle B5 and B12.

Bananas are an excellent source of Vitamin B6 (containing  approx 20% of the recommended daily amount), and this helps with the synthesis of antibodies in the immune system in addition to formation of red blood cells, metabolising protein in the boy and the normal functioning of the central nervous system.

Bananas contain three natural sugars, fructose, sucrose and glucose and it is because of this high sugar content that it can give an instant and extremely substantial boost of energy.

No other fruit contains more digestible carbohydrates than bananas and this is a huge advantage because the body burns carbohydrate calories far more easily and quickly than calories that are found in fats or proteins.  Bananas are very easy to digest.

Did you know that bananas can also help when you decide to quit smoking?  They contain excellent quantities of potassium and magnesium, both of which can help the body to recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

banana nutrition facts

Regular consumption of bananas has been documented to be effective in overcoming or even preventing, many ailments, health related conditions and illnesses, including:

  • Anemia: Bananas contain a good supply of iron which is vital for the production of haemoglobin, myoglobin and many enzymes involved in the formation of our red blood cells.
  • Blood Pressure: As bananas are free from sodium (salt) and and have a high potassium content, they can be included into the diet to reduce the risks of high blood pressure. A diet rich in potassium is reported to reduce the risks of both hypertension and stroke.
  • Brain Nourishment Food: Research has reportedly shown that students who regularly eat bananas for their breakfast and lunch are more alert throughout their lessons. The potassium content is responsible for this.
  • Constipation: Pectin (which is water absorbent) found in bananas helps to alleviate the the discomfort to ease constipation and help regulate normal bowel movements.
  • Diarrhoea: Ripe bananas can regulate the normal functioning of the large intestine, by absorbing large amounts of water – this helps to regulate normal bowel movements.
  • Energy: Carbohydrates found in bananas is used as fuel for your muscles.
  • Hangover: If you’ve ever wondered how you could get rid of that terrible hangover and hangover headache, then try this – a banana milkshake with a little honey. This mixture of bananas, milk and honey will help to calm the stomach, replenish sugar levels and rehydrate your body.
  • Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body and can soothe and relieve the feelings of heartburn.
  • Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas frequently helps to keep blood sugar levels higher than normal, and can prevent the feeling of nausea.
  • Muscle Cramps: Muscular cramps can be caused by a lack of potassium, leading to a greater susceptibility to injury. Incorporating bananas regularly into your diet can help to prevent cramps and injuries if you exercise a lot.
  • Stomach Ulcer: Bananas are the only fruits that a chronic ulcer sufferer is able to eat without too much effect on the stomach. They reduce the irritation caused by the acute symptoms of the ulcer – this is done by coating the stomach lining and neutralizing the over-acidity of the gastric juices. Bananas can help to promote the healing process.
  • Stress: When we feel the effects of stress, our metabolic rate rises rapidly, causing a reduction in potassium levels within the body. By snacking on a potassium rich banana, the vital mineral is rebalanced and the hearts beat is normalized. The regulation of the heartbeat then sends more oxygen to the brain and helps to control the water balance within the body.

banana nutritional info

More Banana Nutritional Info

One medium sized banana can provide approx. 400mg of potassium – which is about 10% of our required daily amount.   It also contains on average, 110 calories and 4g of fibre which equates to 16% of our recommended daily amount.

I have also heard that the inside of a banana skin can be successful in reducing swelling and irritation of insect bites, when rubbed over the affected area.

Interestingly enough, bananas can act as mood enhancers or even as a mild sedative.  According to a survey carried out by MIND on people suffering from depression, the results showed that many felt a huge improvement in their mental state after eating a banana. Bananas contain tryptophan (a medium sized banana can contain about 10.5 mg of tryptophan, which is one of the twenty amino acids which are protein building blocks.  Tryptophan helps with the production of serotonin in the body – and serotonin which has a calming effect on the brain, creating a pleasant stable mood, and thus acting as a mild sedative.

The human body does not produce tryptophan naturally and the only source is through diet.

Bananas are actually the only fruit which will develop a better colour, aroma, texture and sweetness of taste as they ripen after harvest. They ripen very quickly after being harvested and will also speed up the ripening of other fruits within their immediate vicinity.  This happens because a ripening hormone is released from the minute seeds within the fruit – which is a mixture of ethylene gas and carbon dioxide.

Bananas are a great addition to your daily diet.

interesting banana facts

Banana Facts

The derivation of the word ‘banana’ is from the Arab word ‘banan’ which means finger.

Bananas are always harvested when they are very green because they continue to ripen even after they have been picked.

It is well know that bananas appear to love and thrive in a tropical climate, but despite this,  they are also grown in Iceland, where the soil is heated with geysers.

The average American is said to eat more than 28 lbs of bananas in a year.

The world record for, wait for it, yes, the longest banana split, is held in Brisbane and it measured 7.3 kilometres.

The leading banana producer in South America is Brazil, and in Asia, it is India.

The entire world production of bananas is estimated to be in the region of 28 million tonnes, 65% of which is from Latin America, 27% from the south east of Asia, and 7% from Africa. Approximately one fifth of this massive banana crop is exported to Europe, Canada, the USA and Japan as fresh whole fruit.

banana nutritional info

And Even More Fascinating Still … Yet More Banana Facts!

Bananas are known by different names in different banana growing regions.

Many different terms are used in some of the French islands or areas – bananier de Chine (this is in Guadaloupe), bananier nain, figue naine (this is in Hait)i, figue and figue banane.

In Brazil, some of the Portuguese names that are used are: banana maca, banana da Prata and banana de Sao Tome’.

German speaking countries will say feige, echte banane, or feigenbaum.

In the Sudan a banana is called a ‘ baranda’.

Spanish speaking countries will say ‘ banana china’  in Paraguay, ‘zambo’  in Honduras; ‘banano enano’ in Costa Rica; ‘cambur’ or ‘camburi’  in Colombia; Venezuela, ‘patriota’ in Panama; ‘platano’ Mexico; and there are many many other terms besides.

Most fruits grow on trees but bananas are officially from the herb family, believe it or not, and grow on plants. And although the banana plant is frequently referred to as a banana tree, it is actually a perennial herb.

The tree trunk or plant trunk is not a true trunk, but is made up of many leaves tightly wrapped around an initial single stem which then emerges from the top as the fruit bearing flower stalk.

The entire stalk, this part is known as a bunch, can take up to a whole year for the fruit to become ripe enough to be harvested. Then the original stem will die after it has produced the fruit, and side-shoots then rise from the same underground corm to produce a totally new plant which will be harvested the next year.

The fruit itself is sterile though, and is not able to produce a plant from its minute dark seeds within.

The fruit bunches grow in clumps which are known as hands, as they resemble a rather large hand with many fingers.

The tree itself has its own uses as well. The leaves can be used as wrappers to steam food in Asian, Caribbean, and Latin cultures.

The banana flower is edible as well as the fruit, but if the flower is eaten, the plant will then obviously not yield any fruit.

Some banana trees can continue to yield fruit for up to 100 years, although it is known that most banana plantations will renew their stock approximately every 10-25 years.

Interestingly, the banana is a very distant cousin to cardomom, ginger and turmeric and is classed as a berry in botanical terms.

There are known to be over 400 varieties of bananas.

And finally, the banana is the world’s best selling fruit, outranking even the apple and the orange.

banana history



Banana History

Banana history is fascinating.  Bananas were first discovered to be growing in the region of Malaysia and then found their way on to India with the help of many intrigued visitors.  The banana was then found to be thriving in West Africa also.

There are Buddhist Pali writings dating all the way back to the 6th century BC, supporting this fact.

Interestingly enough, it was actually Alexander the Great who, on his many travels, returned with the banana to the western world.

However, America and its inhabitants first experienced the taste of the banana approximately 350 years afterwards.

In 1876 bananas were sold for 10 cents each and wrapped in foil.  This was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in Pennsylvania.

Bananas were found to be growing in plantations in the southern region of China in the year 200 AD., but they were considered to be an exotic and rare fruit by the Chinese themselves and they didn’t become popular with their nation’s masses until the 20th century.

It was reported that Portuguese sailors brought bananas to Europe from West Africa in the early 1400’s. They were shipped by the sailors to the Canary Islands

The original banana has actually been cultivated and eaten since ancient times, amazingly pre-dating the cultivation of rice.

There is so much to be said and learned about the  simple banana, or maybe not so simple!  Everyone should know some banana nutritional info  – I am sure then, we’d be eating more of them as they are so packed full of astounding health benefits under that outer wrapper!

29. April 2010 by Sue
Categories: Nutrition | Comments Off on Discover fascinating Banana Nutritional Info and Banana History