Bananas are the fruit of a plant of the genus Musa, which are cultivated primarily for food, and secondarily for the production of fibers. It is alleged that there are almost 1000 varieties of bananas in the world, subdivided in 50 groups (Bora, 2007). The most generally known banana is the seedless Cavendish variety, which is the one produced for export markets and pronounced for consuming. The banana is the fruit of an herbaceous plant related to the orchid family and is most commonly found in tropical climate areas which become an exotic product of cold environment zones.
The banana is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and Malaysia, and cultivation could have started as early as 8000 BCE. The professionals believe that bananas were the first fruit cultivated by humans and the first domestication took place in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, but China was the first country to cultivate the fruit in an organized production method. The banana did not hit the market in the United States until 1870 after two men realized it’s potential. Lorenzo Dow Baker was a ship captain that brought the banana back from a trip in Jamaica and sold it in the New Jersey market for a small profit. The other man was Minor Keith who worked on a railroad in Costa Rica and planted banana trees near the construction site. After the railway was completed he transported the fruit by train to the United States for retailing and soon the banana became a very popular food in the US. The mass production potential of the banana was discovered in the same year by several American and European businessmen. They implemented a plan to export the fruit and established companies for its plantation. Gradually, an entire industry emerged in Central and South America for plantation and export of the banana. United Fruit Company was the first to start the commercial production of bananas and now it is one of the most desirable fruits in the world, including USA. Bananas are cultivated in more than 170 countries around the world and play a significant role in the economy of developing countries (Bora, 2007).
The banana is considered one of the super foods in health because it is low in calories and fat, high in vitamin B6, and easy to digest. It also contains fiber, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, and is therefore referred to, as holistic food. Bananas can be very effective for patients suffering from anemia, blood pressure, constipation, depression, heartburn, stress. They are also found to be valuable in enhancing brain power (Hirst, 2007). Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose and combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for an active 90-minute workout. Bananas' health benefits make it one of the most nutritious fruits in the world and an added bonus is the delicious taste.
Banana plants can grow in various...