10 bizarre banana facts

Bananas are… radioactive berries that fight depression, piss off bees and are good for cleaning shoes.

The banana is one of the most widely cultivated and eaten fruits in the world, and they are strange beasts.

To start with there is the fact that they grow upside down, or that they ones we find in shops are pretty much all clones of each other, but putting those quirks aside here are ten more really quite odd facts about the curvy yellow fruit.


  1. Technically a banana is a berry, in fact technically a pumpkin is a berry as well. This seems even more bizarre when you take into account the fact that a strawberry isn’t actually a berry at all.

  2. Being around a lot of bananas increases your chances of being stung by a bee. Isoamyl acetate, the compound that makes bananas smell like bananas, is also the alarm pheromone released when a bee stings that alerts other bees to enter ‘fight mode’.

  3. Eating Bananas helps reduce depression. Bananas are the only fruit that contains the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for happy moods.

  4. Overripe bananas, when they go all brown and mushy, work as a mild laxative. Eating three or four should clear minor blockages.

  5. Bananas are radioactive, they contain the potassium isotope K-40 which gives off radiation as it decays. Every time you eat one you get a dose of about 0.005 millirem.

  6. The other interesting thing about potassium is that it is a key ingredient in shoe polish. So, before you throw away the empty peel of the banana you have just been munching on, use the inside of it to clean your leather shoes. It works very well indeed!

  7. The phrase “go bananas” was first formally recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary, based on the bananas connection with monkeys, and their (humanly perceived) comedic actions.

  8. The Bible and the Koran both tell the story of the Garden of Eden and a ‘forbidden fruit‘. Although the general belief seems to be that it was an apple, the Bible never actually names the fruit and the Koran states that it was in fact a banana.

  9. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on mosquito bites, or any other insect bites presumably, alleviates some of the itching. I don’t know the science behind it, but this does work.

  10. ok, the tenth is not really about the yellow foodstuff at all but quite amusing…

  11. The first president of Zimbabwe was named Canaan Banana. He took up office in 1980, but was clearly a bit touchy about his name as in 1982 he passed a law forbidding citizens of Zimbabwe from making jokes about his name.


I’m sure there are very many more strange things about bananas but we’ve been a bit selective. If you have anything interesting to add then feel free to add it in the comments below!

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