That’s Bananas!

That’s Bananas!

By:  Sasha Klemawesch, MD

If I asked you to tell me one fact about bananas, you’d probably cite how rich they are in Potassium.  And you wouldn’t be wrong.

But, in addition to having approximately 10% of your daily value for potassium, they also contain about 10% of your daily needs for Magnesium, Vitamin C and Fiber.  While potassium is great for lowering blood pressure, maintaining muscle (including heart muscle) strength, and avoiding certain types of kidney stones, foods with high potassium content may also be slightly radioactive!

This is because included in their potassium stores is a tiny bit of Potassium-40, which is a radioactive isotope. But don’t worry, there is not a human being out there – or monkey for that matter – who could possibly consume the volume of bananas necessary to incur any harm from them (it’d take like 20 million to reach a dangerous dose).

There is enough of the isotope however that you wouldn’t be allowed to bring bananas into a nuclear power plant due to their potential to trigger the (highly sensitive) alarms.  So, while you may not need to worry about getting radiation poisoning from bananas, if you have a latex allergy; you should probably avoid them. It seems unusual for a man-made material and a natural fruit to be related, but latex actually shares several allergens in common not only with bananas, but also avocados and kiwis.

Other groups who should avoid bananas are male mice. If you are one, #1 congratulations on becoming literate enough to read this! and #2, you have probably already realized that you feel stressed out when you smell banana pudding. This is because pregnant female mice’s urine contains n-pentyl-acetate; the same compound that imparts bananas their distinct odor. It’s also the hormone pregnant mice secrete in

order to repel males, thereby preventing them from eating their babies.

Lastly, if you still enjoy listening to CD’s, and you have run out of toothpaste to fix your favorite one’s scratches, try rubbing a banana peel over the defect. The oils in it will do the same thing the toothpaste does and repair the skip!

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