Have a burning question about Chiquita® Bananas? Here are the answers to some of the many questions we receive from our fans.
Q. Where do bananas come from?
A. Edible bananas evolved from a plant in the Indo-Malaysian region. They were mentioned in literature as far back as the 6th century BC. Today, most bananas are grown in tropical regions like South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Q. Do bananas grow on trees?
A. A common misconception is that bananas come from banana trees, when in fact the banana is closely related to ginger and ornamental plants such as birds of paradise, amaranths and canna lilies. The banana plant is not a tree, but the world's largest perennial herb and grows up to 25 feet, developing massive banana leaves that may extend 9 feet in the air. Edible bananas are technically berries and do not produce mature seeds . Their rhizomes, or roots, can be hundreds of years old.
Q. Are bananas safe for babies?
A. Because bananas are easy to digest and seldom cause allergic reactions, a pureed banana is a wonderful first solid food for babies. Introduce bananas into your child's diet at about age 6 to 8 months.
Q. Are bananas good for heart health?
A. Yes! The American Heart Association has certified bananas as a heart-healthy food when eaten as part of a low-fat balanced diet. Although many factors contribute to heart health, bananas are a good source of potassium, essential to the health of your heart and nervous system. Potassium is needed for proper muscle contraction and your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. Some studies have also shown that low potassium is linked to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke. Instead of an apple a day, a banana a day may do a better job of keeping the doctor away.
Q. I heard that bananas are mood enhancers. Is that true?
A. Well, bananas do include tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, a natural substance that has a calming effect on the brain and can act as a gentle sedative. The vitamin B6, which regulates blood glucose levels, can also have a positive effect on your mood.
Q. What effect do bananas have on blood and blood sugar?
A. Bananas have high levels of natural vitamin B6, which helps your body produce hemoglobin, a critical component in blood. B6 also helps your body's immune system and antibody production. And it enables your body to convert carbohydrates to glucose to maintain the correct blood sugar level. Bananas are also a good source of manganese, a powerful antioxidant that aids in regulating blood sugar levels.
Q. Are bananas a good source of vitamin C?
A. Yes. Bananas contain 15% of your daily recommended vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts your immune system. It also helps regulate your blood sugar and grow and repair body tissue.
 Simmonds N.W. 1962. Where our bananas come from. New Scientist (Reed Business Information), 16 (307): 36–39.