Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Aug

Fun Facts About Boring Fruits

Lunchbox staples like bananas are more interesting – and nutritious – than you might think. Even the apples have a special side. Wow your friends tonight with these scintillating factoids, friends:

Nugget 1: Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. You’ve all heard it before, but here’s an interesting…slice…of knowledge that gives it further credence. A flavonoid called quercetin may protect the brain from damage that triggers neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It turns out that apples (specifically the apple’s skin) contain higher levels of quercetin than almost every other fruit and veggie. Research continues to show that there is something to the age old adage after all.

Nugget Dos: Bananas

Did you know that the banana plant is not a tree? It looks like a tree, acts like a tree, and smells like a tree, but it is actually the world’s largest herb! (Herbs are defined as seed-bearing plants without stems, which die down after flowering.) Everyone knows that potassium is found in abundance in the banana. But so are seeds! Yep, seeds are embedded inside this fruit in the wild. That’s why we humans prefer cultivated bananas. The banana has had a rather political history: see banana republics.

Noog 3: Tomatoes

We all know tomatoes are actually a fruit. They’re everywhere and in everything (sauce is practically synonymous with tomatoes at this point!). This ubiquity is a good thing, because tomatoes are rich in lycopene, one of the strongest carotenoids (a carotenoid is a powerful antioxidant). To unlock all of the tomato’s potential, drizzle fresh slices with olive oil. Lycopene is best absorbed when eaten with a little fat.

This is another fruit not without its controversy: the ambiguously-classified tomato made it all the way to the Supreme Court many years ago. The grandest court in the land passed a law defining it as a vegetable, even though botanically speaking this is incorrect. Guess the 1800’s Supreme Court needed a botany lesson.

And take a guess: Mystery Fruit

There is only one fruit in the world with its seeds on the outside. Can you guess which one?

It’s the delicious strawberry.

Due to this unusual feature, botanists don’t classify strawberries as true berries. They are part of the rose family (Fragaria) – lumped together with apples and plums. Go figure. Additionally, botanists consider each seed as a separate and distinct fruit. These botanists and the people that call the banana plant an herb really should get together. Heck, why not add in the Supreme Court as well.

And thanks to all who participated in the fruit bowl question early this month. Here are a few of our favorites:

From Groovalicious, taste the rainbow:

fruitandveg

From the garden and greenhouse of GP in Montana, who owns a B&B:

gpinmontana

From local rock star Crystal, a healthy mix:

crystalfruit

From Kim, a “once a day to the market” shopper:

aspkim

And the variety award clearly goes to reader John:

grapes

And how could we forget Sonagi’s beautiful composition?

sonagi 1

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Tomatoes are also part of the Nightshade group which has been linked to worsening the symptoms of Arthritis.

    Mike OD wrote on August 24th, 2007
  2. Pure genius!!

    severn wrote on August 24th, 2007
  3. Isn’t that just perfect? Those are among the very fruits I prefer, I could eat all day long. For once that such a coincidence happens, I’m all giddy now. :)

    Kery from France wrote on August 25th, 2007
  4. I’m going to be stubborn. I just can’t except tomatoes as a fruit. He He. I would not cut them up and put them in my fruit salad. I can’t call an avocado a fruit either. Avos. are in a class all by themselves. Kim’s blueberries look yummy.

    Crystal wrote on August 25th, 2007
  5. Where’s my plate of colorful fruits? I posted a link to Flickr on that thread, and I think Mark or somebody has linked to the image because it’s had 100+ views, far more than any of my other food pics.

    Sonagi wrote on August 25th, 2007
  6. Hmmm….we’ll update it, Sonagi! :)

    Sara wrote on August 25th, 2007
  7. Thank you, Sara.

    Sonagi wrote on August 26th, 2007
  8. I agree these are great choices. Are any of them better if they are organic? I have read some things about berries and grapes. Do you think they are worth the cost.

    Bruce wrote on August 26th, 2007
  9. I had no idea that banana’s were an herb! That is so weird. Strawberry’s have their seeds on the outside, I wonder if that means they go bad sooner?

    Terry wrote on August 27th, 2007
  10. Wow! I love the list. I had no idea that bananas were an herb. I guess you learn something everyday. Thanks for posting…

    Colonix wrote on August 27th, 2007
  11. Hi,
    Good stuff, I am a consultant to the nutrition and herb industries (30 years) and always like to see stuff like this. My site is just now being built (under construction) and will be live soon, it will contain a data base and lots of ‘insider’ info regarding raw materials, products and research. Please feel free to ask any questions and visit the site in the coming weeks.

    Kind Regards,
    Doc

    Dr. James Lembeck wrote on August 29th, 2007
  12. …a horticulture hint: to grow great tomatoes with the acidic taste of famous Jersey tomatoes, use an Earth Box with added lime. (or make your own Earth Box as suggested on-line). My tomatoes for the last three years have been the best. One plant in an Earth Box, watered almost every day is the secret. The plants get huge! and so are the tomatoes. Try it; you’ll love ‘em.

    Tom Orlando wrote on September 3rd, 2007
  13. I beg to differ!!
    There is only one fruit in the world with its seeds on the outside??
    What about the marañón (cashew)? Please check:
    http://www.cupotico.com/info/General/Maranon_an_unusual_fruit..html

    You are welcome to visit Costa Rica and check for yourself!!

    Mitoo wrote on June 1st, 2009
    • Mitoo, that is really cool! Thanks for sharing.

      JoshTheMonkey wrote on March 30th, 2010
  14. there is another fruit with the seed outside that is chashew

    mica wrote on March 31st, 2011
    • I just learned this myself. Cashews are a Seed, not a nut. They grow on the base of the Cashew Apple that is not eaten straight itself, but juiced or fermented for alcohol.

      JoLi wrote on June 24th, 2014
  15. Cool facts! As for bananas, it’s also interesting that there are dozens of different varieties of banana with different colors, sizes etc. “And the variety award clearly goes to reader John” – haha! You can’t go wrong with grapes.

    Manuel wrote on April 3rd, 2012
  16. Nice post. I think you called them boring as they are commonly seen anywhere but nice facts that yo have shared about them. They are indeed nutritious and helpful.

    Kim Greene wrote on July 13th, 2014

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple