TNB Night Owl – Bananas

Freshly picked bananas. Image captured by the News Blender.

Let’s get a few things straight right off the bat: bananas are berries, they do not grow on trees, and they’re very good for you. The fruit is full of things your body needs, including magnesium, potassium, folate, tryptophan, vitamin B6, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and carbohydrates.

Carbs take the form of starch in green, unripened bananas (by as much as 80%). As they ripen, the starch is converted into sugars. When fully ripe, only a very small amount of starch remains, so to avoid high sugar intake it’s best to eat bananas before they become brown. Bananas that haven’t fully ripened are great for the good bacteria that live in the large intestine. These good bacteria ferment starch into a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate which benefits the bacteria, leading to a balanced, healthy biome and better gut health, which of course is better for your digestion and absorption of nutrients. The greener the banana, the more starch it contains, but let’s be honest – yellow bananas taste better. The part of the fruit we eat isn’t the only good part, though. Some people make banana tea from organic banana skins in order to benefit from the antioxidants concentrated in the peel.

A banana with peanut butter makes an excellent snack before bedtime. The carbohydrates in the banana make tryptophan (found in nut butters as well as in bananas) more available to your brain. Your brain converts tryptophan into serotonin, which in turn becomes melatonin, and voilá, you have a better night’s rest.

However, the primary variety of the fruit is in danger. Ninety-five percent of bananas produced commercially are Cavendish, the kind that most people around the world are most familiar with. Panama disease, which is caused by a fungus, is the problem. These short and informative videos explain why and how.

“Top 10 different types of Banana varieties in the world” (2:31):

“World’s Top Banana Could Go Extinct” (2:11):

“Why the Global Banana Industry May Be in Danger” (2:54):

Question of the Night: What (or who) is your favorite fruit?

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About Richard Doud 316 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.