Bananas are the fruits of trees under the genus Musa. Typical commercially available bananas are seedless with green to yellow peels. Many varieties exist, though the most commonly consumed are from the Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana trees. Bananas grow in subtropical and tropical climates and are one of the most consumed food crops in the world.
The average banana is a significant source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and potassium, containing 13% of the daily value of potassium. Many of the phytochemicals present in bananas are available in higher amounts in under-ripe bananas. Studies have shown that the consumption of two bananas a day can produce measurable beneficial effects on gut microbiota.
The most popular variety of banana, the Cavendish banana, is at risk of extinction due to a new strain of fungus known as the Panama disease. A previous strain of this fungus was what caused the extinction of the Gros Michel variety of bananas, which is what many of us today taste when consuming anything “banana flavored”. Storing bananas in a bunch accelerates ripening.
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