Banana mysteries

Surprising Banana Mysteries (They are Berries; they are Radioactive!)

It is not the first time I am writing about bananas; it won’t be the last time either.

Why?

Because bananas have a mammoth-sized history and they always seem to continue unleashing new surprises as we continue to explore and consume them.

It is no wonder that when you search for the most sold item at Walmart, bananas will pop up at the top of the search.

Being one of the most consumed foods in the world, bananas have not escaped the curious eyes of mystery finders and fact finders.

Did you know bananas can walk! Seriously. Did you even know that they can help you poop and sleep well? Did you know they can have twins?

Well, bananas can be so many things; most of which are little known and mysterious.

 I also dived into the mysterious world of bananas and emerged with some 7 surprising banana facts and mysteries that I thought were worth sharing.

Let’s get right into it.

1. Bananas are Berries, Not Fruits!

That’s right. According to botanists, bananas should not be put in a general fruit basket.

As discussed earlier in this article, a banana may fulfill all the requirements of a fruit, but specifically, they have berry characteristics.

This is due to the botanical classification of plant parts based on what part will develop into a fruit and the characteristics of the fruit structure.

Berries usually originate from a single ovary and their structure is soft and fleshy.

They also have three layers of the fleshy part that consist of the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The soft, innermost part of a berry (endocarp) encloses several seeds.

If you look at the structure of a banana, you will see that all the above berry requirements are satisfied.

It is just a nomenclature confusion that we have lived with for so long and is not easy to unlearn.

You can stick with whatever name you are used to in an informal conversation but just don’t call bananas fruits in a panel of botanists or biologists.

2. Bananas also have Siamese twins

Twin Banana
Twin Banana: Image by meltvikjen from Pixabay

I had to include this in my mysterious banana list after coming across some funny myths about twin bananas.

Apparently, there are people who have been made to believe that if a pregnant woman eats twin bananas, they will give birth to Siamese twins! Lol.

This is clearly one outrageous banana myth since eating bananas has nothing to do with the reproduction process.

But one thing that is true is the fact that bananas can also produce Siamese twin fruits.

Although the double banana phenomenon is not a common occurrence, you may occasionally come across it in the gold finger variety and the sweet apple banana variety.

Two banana berries will fuse to form twin bananas and grow together just like Siamese twins.

3. Bananas produce radioactive atoms

Relax; I can explain.

Bananas are some of the few fruits which have been proven to be radioactive.

One of the most prominent minerals in bananas (potassium) is responsible for its radioactivity.

Scientific studies have shown that bananas contain a potassium isotope called potassium 40 that is known to be radioactive.

Before you panic and head into your food basket to discard all your bananas, I should quickly add that the levels of radiation emitted are extremely low to cause any harm to humans.

Unless you are eating a full lorry of bananas every day, you do not need to worry about banana radiation poisoning at all.

Also, our bodies and environment are usually radioactive, but not in a lethal way. There are levels of radiation exposure that are considered dangerous.

However, it is good to know this fact so that you can minimize its intake if you have special conditions or if you are pregnant.

4. Banana Plants Can Walk!

Banana trees
Photo by Jeremy Zero on Unsplash

Goodness me! What else are these mysterious berries hiding from us?

Okay, it is believed that the way bananas are cultivated makes them walking plants.

Contemporary cultivated bananas do not grow from seeds.

They are usually grown asexually from an offshoot that often sprouts a few centimeters out of the main stem.

Since a banana plant only has one life cycle, the main stem is usually cut down after delivering a mature banana bunch.

This leaves room for the next generation that grows next to the parent.

This cycle can be repeated for many years from a single shoot that was initially planted.

These successive movements of new banana shoot from the main plant over years is what botanists consider as a “banana walk.”

It is said that they can walk up to 50cm from the initial plant in their lifetime.

5. They Grow on Herbs and not on Trees

Bananas have one striking similarity with money. They do not grow on trees!

So, how do they grow?

Unlike other common plants, the entire banana plant is supported by a herb and not a woody tree trunk or a stem.

As the shoot grows, its leaves turn into tough rings that are tightly wrapped around each other to form a flexible stem-like trunk.

It is not a true wooden stem.

On maturing, the banana hand that holds the banana berries will sprout out at the top of the trunk to bear the fruits and finish its life cycle.

6.Bananas can Help You Poop and Sleep

Aside from their many health benefits, bananas are also known to be good at inducing certain physical activities such as pooping and sleeping.

If you are feeling constipated and you are having a hard time passing stool, you can turn your attention to ripe bananas.

Also, if you have swallowed a foreign object and you would like to hasten the pooping process, try ripe bananas.

Ripe bananas contain large amounts of soluble fibers that come in handy when your bowels need some quick flashing.

Bananas have also been recommended as one of the evening snacks that may help overcome insomnia.

Incorporating a banana in your night snack can boost the production of melatonin hormone in the body which is an important sleep-inducing hormone.

This is due to the presence of sleep-aid elements tryptophan and potassium in bananas.

You can check out this article here for more information about fruits that help with sleep.

7. There are More than 37 Banana World Records

Humans are never running short of finding ways to be weird.

In their quest to outdo themselves and others, these people have come up with ridiculously outrageous banana ideas to put their names out there.

I managed to find 37 record-holders who did something with a banana.

That is a whole banana republic!

I also believe there are more attempting other banana records even right now as I write this.

I also believe that someone reading this may find ideas of either trying to break the existing records or coming up with their own entry.

If that is you, then this website may be a good place to start scouting.

You could be sleeping, or rather, eating on your talent every passing day.

I was actually mesmerized by some of the records in there.

Let me just share a few here that I found funny and worth mentioning.

Banana World Records

  • Filip j. holds the world record for holding a banana between his teeth (12hrs, 12 min, 12 sec).
  • A guy called Kylecovey holds the world record for the slowest time to eat a single banana (20 minutes).
  • Australian Shaun McManus holds the record for most bananas fit in pants while wearing them (237 bananas).
  • Debra E holds the fastest time to peel a banana (1 second).
  • The longest banana throw (205 ft or 2460 inches) is held by Michael.
  • Alex Clayton holds the record for most high-fives while wearing a banana costume. Haa.
  •  There is a record for the furthest distance to hit an onion using a banana! (57.83 feet).
  • Longest time balancing a banana on a thumb by Mark Evans (2 min, 18.59 sec)
  • There is also a record for most screws screwed into a banana (550 screws by Liza and Jenkins).
  • Fastest time to type the word “banana” (10 times by Dylan L.)
  • Longest time staring at a floating banana while eating a banana. (6 min, 34.11 sec by Oscar Gstared).

I am sure someone is having ideas already from this list.

Go for it and give us more to enjoy in the mysterious world of bananas.

Ps. I also found out that bananas have a dark political history. Check out this video below.

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