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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 24, 2007

Fun Facts About Boring Fruits

By Worker Bee

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:

Rainbow of vitamins!

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

From local rock star Crystal, a healthy mix:

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

And the variety award clearly goes to reader John:

And how could we forget Sonagi’s beautiful composition?


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18 Comments on "Fun Facts About Boring Fruits"


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Mike OD
10 years 1 month ago

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

10 years 1 month ago

Pure genius!!

Kery from France
10 years 1 month ago

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. 🙂

10 years 1 month ago

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.

10 years 1 month ago

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.

10 years 1 month ago

Hmmm….we’ll update it, Sonagi! 🙂

10 years 30 days ago

Thank you, Sara.

10 years 30 days ago

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.

10 years 29 days ago

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?

10 years 29 days ago

Wow! I love the list. I had no idea that bananas were an herb. I guess you learn something everyday. Thanks for posting…

Dr. James Lembeck
10 years 27 days ago

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,

Tom Orlando
Tom Orlando
10 years 22 days ago

…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.

8 years 3 months ago

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:

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

7 years 5 months ago

Mitoo, that is really cool! Thanks for sharing.

6 years 5 months ago

there is another fruit with the seed outside that is chashew

3 years 3 months ago

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.

5 years 5 months ago

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.

Kim Greene
3 years 2 months ago

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.