Archeological evidence suggests that bananas first began to be cultivated in South East Asia, probably in the area that is now Papua New Guinea as early as 8,000 BC. It took rather a long time for them to spread around the globe, primarily because they can only be grown in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and quick transportation to colder climates was non-existent back then. It was eventually Portuguese sailors that brought bananas from West Africa to Europe and the Americas, but even as late as Victorian times—they were still hardly eaten in England.
Today, they are one of the most popular fruits consumed worldwide, grown in over 100 countries— the top 5 being: India, China, Philippines, Brazil and Ecuador. In the United States, only Hawaii, Florida and Southern California have the climates that can grow them, but overall they are not a widely grown crop in North America.
Nutritionally, one banana will contain:
– Only slightly over 100 calories
– Zero fat and cholesterol
– 3 grams, or over 12 percent, of your recommended daily allowance of fiber
– Over 15 percent RDA Vitamin C
– Over 20 percent RDA Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
– 420 mg potassium, or 12 percent RDA
– Good amounts of the trace elements magnesium and manganese
– Healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
They are an excellent quick and healthy source of energy—how often have you seen an athletic tennis player quickly eating one on the court?! So next time you get the chance, grab a bunch from the grocery store. Try leaving one on your office desk too, and get a good natural amount of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and energy all at the same time!