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Is the Banana a Fruit, Herb, or Berry?

Is the banana a fruit

Is the banana a fruit, berry, or herb, or could it be all three? You’ll learn the many health benefits of bananas in this post even if we are not sure what to call it.

Bananas are confusing. We’ve always known them as sweet fruit. Now we’re finding the banana is not really sweet, tropical fruit, but technically a giant herb. According to botanists, an herb refers to a plant lacking wooden trunks.

Growing Bananas

A look at bundles of green giant Cavendish bananas growing from the tree.

Bananas do not grow on a banana tree. They grow on a banana plant that typically reaches as high as 10-25 feet. It’s easy to mistake what appears like a fruit tree trunk of the banana plant. However, it’s not a tree trunk but the result of numerous layers of leaves, up to 12 inches thick, enveloping the banana plant stem.

To confuse matters even more, an article in Stanford Magazine reported that while the banana plant is an herb, the edible fruit is a berry. Their rationale – berries are fruits resulting from female flowers with only one ovary and also contain seeds. Bananas meet all the conditions. They evolve from flowers consisting of one ovary and have tiny seeds.

All berries are fruits, but all fruits are not berries. So, just when you think you know about the banana, you don’t. It’s a fruit but not a fruit. It’s a berry but not a true berry. Scientifically, it’s a giant herb.

Banana Facts

A bundle of dwarf Cavendish bananas on a wicker basket tray.

Nutrition

A medium banana supplies 422mg potassium or 12 percent of the recommended daily amount by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It contains ½ fat gram, 3 grams fiber, 27 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams natural sugar, 10mg vitamin C, and 102 calories. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which is essential for encouraging regular sleep, boosting mood, and memory retention.

Health Benefits of Bananas

A cluster of bananas hanging from a wooden apparatus.

Heart Health

Bananas are rich in potassium that fosters heart health. They contain flavonoids, which have been linked to a substantial reduction in the threat of heart disease. They are high in fiber that can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

The pectin in bananas helps balance blood pressure levels. Excess salt is a big offender of high blood pressure. Its low salt and high potassium promote balanced blood pressure, which contributes to heart health.

Anemia Aid

Bananas are a generous source of iron, which is essential to people diagnosed with anemia. It triggers the creation of hemoglobin in the blood that aids in battling anemia. The vitamin B6 in bananas regulates blood sugar levels, which aids people with anemia.

Bananas and Bone Health

While a banana does not contain abundant calcium, its fructooligosaccharides (nondigestive carbs) heighten the body’s capability to absorb calcium. When the body lacks adequate calcium, it draws calcium from the bones, which can lead to broken bones or even osteoporosis.

Bananas Soothe Depression

The tryptophan in bananas processes serotonin, a.k.a. the happy chemical. Dopamine in bananas is instrumental in how we think and feel pleasure. Both chemicals help soothe depression and elevate the mood.

Digestive System

Its profusion of insoluble fiber relieves constipation and sustains regularity.

Ready for more confusion?

Bananas help prevent bloating and gas, but their high amounts of fiber and starch may cause digestive distress. Plus, bananas relieve constipation and/or diarrhea. Go figure.

Call it a fruit…or call it a berry…you can even call it an herb. Whatever you call a banana, it will answer with its many nutrients and health benefits.

Vegan Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies Recipe

A batch of freshly-baked vegan peanut butter and banana cookies.

A plate of vegan peanut butter and banana cookies with a glass of milk.

Vegan Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies

Prep Time 25 mins
Freeze Time for Bananas 1 hr

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ½ cup plant-based butter at room temperature You can find the product at most grocery stores.
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Step 1: Grind the Flaxseed: Use a spice grinder to pulverize the flaxseed until it becomes a fine meal.
  • Step 2: Pour in the hot water. Stir the mixture with a fork until it thickens. Then set it aside.
  • Step 3: Preheat the Oven to 375°F.
  • Step 4: Peel the bananas and slice them into ¼-inch cross-sections. Place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer until they're frozen solid, which should take about an hour.
  • Step 5: Place the plant-based, room-temperature butter into the bowl of an electric mixer. Use the paddle attachment to beat the butter at medium speed until it's well-creamed.
  • Step 6: Add the peanut butter to the butter. Continue to beat at medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  • Step 7: At medium speed, add the sugar, vanilla, and flaxseed egg until thoroughly blended. Halfway through, scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are completely incorporated into the mixture.
  • Step 8: Add the baking soda, flour, and salt. Mix these in on low. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl halfway through to ensure that all the ingredients are completely combined.
  • Step 9: Refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes.
  • Step 10: Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cookies should be at least 2 inches apart.
  • Step 11: Take the banana slices out of the freezer. Press one slice onto each cookie. Technically, this step is optional, since you can have peanut butter cookies sans bananas. But combining these flavors results in an extra-tasty cookie, so we recommend not leaving the bananas out.
  • Step 12: Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top of each banana. Again, this step is optional but highly recommended.
  • Step 13: Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. When the bottoms are golden brown and the cookies can be lifted cleanly from the cookie sheet, they're done.
  • Step 14: Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.

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