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Fun Facts About Boring Fruits

Posted By Worker Bee On August 24, 2007 @ 5:55 pm In Health,Nutrition,Pictures,Prevention | 18 Comments

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 [7] 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 [7] 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 [8]. The banana has had a rather political history: see banana republics [9].

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 [10], 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 [11] 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:

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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[8] cultivated bananas: http://home.wlu.edu/~dennisp/intr132/Project/history.html

[9] banana republics: http://lists.essential.org/corp-focus/msg00012.html

[10] lycopene: http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lyc_0165.shtml

[11] strawberries: http://www.museums.org.za/bio/plants/rosaceae/fragaria.htm

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