Recently, I started an iFit series on my treadmill to get back into running shape. The program I am using right now is training to run a 5k. We started out walking and power walking on flat terrain and on hills. The trainer has been phasing in running with active recovery and it has been a remarkably effective program so far. Aside from its effectiveness, the first 30 days of the program are taking place in Vietnam. There are breathtaking views that can only be seen in Vietnam and distract the runner from focusing on just running. The trainer talks about the importance of the places we visit and about the local products and exports. Bananas are a big export of Vietnam (not the biggest, those are coffee beans and rice) and I’d like to share some facts that I learned about this amazing food.

  1. It is believed that the banana is the world’s first fruit, originating about 10,000 years ago, cultivated for the first time in Africa in 650 A.D.
  2. The U.S. and European Union are the largest importers of bananas.
  3. Bananas that are showing dark spots are more effective than green- or yellow-skinned bananas at strengthening white blood cells, which fight off infections in our bodies.
  4. The inside of a banana peel can relieve itching from bug bites and poison ivy.
  5. Bananas are packed with potassium. According to ThatsItFruit.com, the more potassium you have, the less likely your arteries are to harden. Bananas are also loaded with B6 and tryptophan, which turns into serotonin during digestion. Serotonin and B6 will elevate your mood, help you relax and sleep when needed, and fight against Type 2 Diabetes. One food can help your blood flow AND help you sleep! Wow!
  6. Research has shown that bananas are more effective than sports drinks at replacing energy and electrolytes after working out.
  7. According to Live Science, bananas are not loaded with calcium, but will help the body absorb calcium. That’s important for those of us getting older!
  8. Banana peels are edible and contain a lot of B6 and B12. Just wash them first before you try this.
  9. The banana plant is an herb, making the banana part we eat a berry. There is no wood in the banana plant, making its “trunk” really a stem.
  10. A bunch of bananas is called a hand and a single banana is called a finger.
  11. There are nearly 1,000 different types of bananas, but the ones we see in stores come from only one type, the Cavendish banana plant in Southeast Asia. The Cavendish banana is considered a dessert banana as it is sweeter than other types, such as a plantain, which needs to be cooked and is starchier.
  12. Wild bananas growing in Southeast Asia are filled with hard seeds and inedible to humans.
  13. The genetic similarity between bananas and humans in 60%! Weird, right?

Reference

Biesman, Sherry. 23 September 2015. 10 Interesting Facts About Bananas from That’s It. Thatsitfruit.com/blogs/default-blog/blog10-interesting-facts-about-bananas

Szalay, Jessie. 25 October 2017. LiveScience.com. Banana Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits. Livescience.com/45005-banana-nutrition-facts.html

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