16 Surprising Facts About Bananas

In Nutrition

Bananas are one of America’s favorite fruits, with some 96 percent of consumers reporting buying bananas last year. In fact, on average, Americans eat more than 28 pounds of bananas per person, per year! That’s good news because bananas are nutrient-rich and offer other a wide variety of health benefits. For example, did you know that bananas might actually help you feel happy, or that the smell of bananas could act as an appetite suppressant? Read on to find out who invented the banana split, why bananas are 37 percent cheaper than they were in 1980, and whether it is really true that bananas (as we know them) may become extinct in our lifetimes.

16 Surprising Facts About Bananas

1. The Smell of Bananas May Suppress Your Appetite

Bet we have your attention now. Yes, according to a study performed at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, smelling certain foods when you are hungry can trick you brain into thinking that you’ve actually eaten them. One of those foods is bananas. If that’s not enough to convince you that you can enjoy bananas while losing weight, smell one next time you are hungry.

2. Bananas May Improve Your Athletic Performance

There may be a reason why most of the world’s best athletes love bananas. Olympian Yohan Blake reportedly eats 16 bananas a day! A recent study from Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab found that consuming half a banana every 15 minutes during a cycling time trial test was as effective as drinking a carbohydrate matched sports drink every 15 minutes. If you’re active, bananas are a great option to fuel your muscles while providing antioxidants and other nutrients that sports drinks lack.

3. Bananas Are One of the Least Expensive Fruits We Can Buy

Banana expert Dan Koeppel told NPR in 2011, “The banana is the cheapest fruit in the supermarket, and that’s pretty weird because it’s shipped from great distances, and it requires a lot of handling and refrigeration, much more than apples, for example.” To put an actual price on that, earlier this year, Dr. Mark J. Perry, professor of economics at The University of Michigan wrote on The American Enterprise website, “I bought four bananas the other day at the local Safeway, and noticed when I looked at the sales receipt that the cost of the four bananas was only 95 cents, or less than 24 cents per banana. What a bargain!” Bananas pack an incredible amount of nutrition and health benefit at an incredibly low cost.

4. Banana Prices Have Decreased 37 Percent Since 1980

Due to greater efficiencies in production, distribution, and transportation, banana prices have been declining steadily over the past 30 years. Dr. Mark J. Perry, professor of economics at The University of Michigan wrote, “Banana prices today, after adjusting for inflation, are 37 percent lower than in 1980.” Perry mentions that bananas were first introduced to American consumers in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition where they sold for ten cents each. He writes, “In today’s dollars, that would be the equivalent of $3.00 per banana, or 1,150% more expensive than the 24 cents I paid at the local Safeway a few days ago!” While the cost of many items in our grocery carts are rising, bananas are one item that is truly cost-effective AND nutrient-dense.

5. Bananas Are Diet-Friendly

A medium banana is 110 calories and provides 30 grams of carbs and 3 grams fiber. In addition to filling fiber, bananas contain resistant starch, a type of carbohdyrate you can’t digest, but helps you feel fuller longer. A banana can have 2-3 grams of resistant starch (the greener it is, the more resistant startch it contains). This makes bananas a great mid-aftenoon snack, or a perfect pre-workout snack if you eat them 1 hour before your workout.

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