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9:42 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Bananas: The jack of all fruit

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Yes, we have radioactive bananas, but you should eat them anyway. Bananas are radioactive due to an isotope of potassium, potassium K-40 to be exact. But never fear, you would need to eat ten million bananas at once for the radiation to kill you, and you would need to eat around three hundred bananas a day for seven years before it made you ill.

And we do love our bananas, the average American eats close to 30 pounds of them a year. Bananas are high in folic acid, calcium, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and antioxidants. They provide insulin, hemoglobin and antibodies to help fight off infection; they also stabilize blood sugar and blood pressure. They are a natural antacid and are high in fructooligosacchande, a probiotic that encourages friendly bacteria to help our digestive tract. Even the peels are beneficial. Rub a peel on your forehead to relieve a headache or rub it on a bug bite to stop it from itching. Then throw the peel in your garden because it makes an excellent fertilizer.

Bananas are one of the cheapest and most widely consumed fruits worldwide and are the fifth most traded agricultural product. There are more restrictions on bananas than there are guns. Bananas don’t grow on trees, rather they are considered an herb, the world’s largest herb at that.

The scientific name is musa sapientum or fruit of the wiseman. They are curved because they grow upside down and they grow toward the sun. Bananas are the perfect on-the-go snack, you can dip them in chocolate and freeze them, or use them to make smoothies and bread.

In the Philippines they use them to make banana ketchup. Of course, we all have fond memories of a childhood favorite, the banana split, loaded with ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate with the ubiquitous cherry on top. We owe much gratitude to a druggist apprentice at Tassel Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania who created the concoction back in 1904.

And how exactly do you make a banana split? Simple, you just cut it in half.