There's not much about bananas that isn't convenient.
They're perfectly packaged, portable, and great for a quick and easy snack.
But if we have one complaint, it's those obnoxious little strings between the peel and the flesh
of the banana.
They're a hassle to remove, but skip that step and you're risking gag-inducing psychological
So what are they, and why are they infringing upon your snack time?
According to Dr. Nicholas D. Gillitt, vice president of nutrition research and director
at the Dole Nutrition Institute, it turns out they actually serve a purpose.
In fact, without those irritating strings, which are called phloem bundles, bananas as
you know them probably wouldn't exist.
If you actually retained anything from your junior high biology class, you might remember
the terms phloem and xylem, which are the tissues in plants that transport food and
Phloem bundles distribute nutrients to the banana, meaning they're one of the main reasons
bananas can grow and thrive at all.
Don't you feel bad for hating them now?
And according to Gillitt, there's actually no harm in eating those strings — they're
even good for you.
He told the Huffington Post,
"In general, all parts of fruits are healthy.
We eat the skins of apples, pears, etc., and we could eat the skins of bananas — including
the phloem bundles — if we find them palatable, but there is no evidence to suggest they are
Gillitt also says it may be possible to design a banana without phloem bundles, but he doesn't
see the point.
"Yes it is potentially possible, but if the phloem bundles are necessary for the adequate
disposition of nutrients throughout the plant, and are not truly bothersome, what would be
We would feel it is a much more important extension of resources to spend research money
on breeding disease-resistant or increased nutrient content varieties."
Hey, if strings are the price we have to pay to eventually get super bananas, then it's
all worth it.
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