They’re there every time you open a banana and start to remove the peel: those annoying strings that cling onto the fruit and refuse to let go. The technical name for these strings that run vertically along bananas is “phloem bundles” and, surprisingly, they actually do serve a purpose!
Phloem is a type of complex tissue responsible for transporting food and water throughout the plant, ensuring that it receives nutrients, minerals and water to grow. So, these phloem bundles distribute nutrients up and down the banana as it grows.
Although there is little research on the nutritional value of these strings, it’s likely that they contain different types of fibers and structural components from the rest of the banana.
They won’t add or take away any significant nutritional value, so whether you eat them or peel them off is up to you! If you do eat them, you’ll just be getting more of the valuable vitamins and minerals that come with bananas, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and folate.
These phloem bundles cling more to less ripe bananas, so make sure to steer clear of bananas that are still green if these strings really bother you. Another helpful tip to avoid pesky strings: peel your banana from the bottom!
Whether you store this information away to use in your next trivia game or use it as a fun fact to teach your children a quick healthy eating science lesson, we hope you have a new appreciation those phloem bundles next time you pack a banana in your bento box!
For ideas on how to use bananas to make a healthy snack, check out these recipes: