What do the white strings on a banana actually do?

Nutritionist reveals what the annoying strings on a banana actually do – and why you might want to eat them next time

  • An expert reveals the dangly white strings are safe to eat and won’t harm you
  • READ MORE: Baker uncovers ‘genius’ method to peel your banana

Bananas are a delicious, compact and healthy snack full of vitamins and antioxidants and rich in potassium.

But many lovers of the fruit, which is one of your five a day according to the NHS, can be put off by the ‘stringy bits’ of flesh that are revealed when you peel one. 

There are even rumours that these annoying addendums are harmful to your health, but an expert has dispelled such myths – insisting they are actually packed with goodness.

Admittedly unappetising, the awkward, dangling string is known as a phloem bundle, Healthyway explains – and the next time you peel a banana, you may want to consider eating it.

Nicholas D. Gillitt, vice president of nutrition research and director at the Dole Nutrition Institute in North Carolina, has revealed how the ‘stringy bits’ of a banana function within the fruit.

The flat strings found between the peel and the flesh are known as phloem bundles and contain added nutrients (stock image)

He told the Huffington Post: ‘Although we have not specifically tested phloem bundles, it is likely that there would be a difference in its nutritional value. They likely contain more and varied types of fibre and structural components required for their function’.

Mr Gillitt further explained the ‘phloem’ refers to its tissue type, which acts as the plant’s vascular system.

The complex tissue distributes nutrients throughout the banana, further fortifying its nutritional value, not to mention its tasty goodness.

However you’ll need to ingest a mammoth amount before receiving any noteworthy benefits.

The expert added that the nutrition in the bundles without the banana is of such small quantity, it is not expected to heavily impact the fruit’s overall nutritional value. However on the other hand, it’s also not bad for you.

He explains: ‘As part of the banana, of course (they are safe)! Now whether they are palatable is another question. In general, all parts of fruits are healthy – including the phloem bundles – if we find them palatable. But there is no evidence to suggest they are harmful.’

The banana packs a mega punch of nutrients and is a good source of fibre, potassium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants (stock image)

However, not all banana-lovers are convinced, as most people tend to remove them from the fruit and pop them in the compost bin. 

And for those of us who can’t bear to ingest the ‘stringy bits’, there is some good news – new hybrid bananas are grown in some places that don’t contain any phloem at all.

Elsewhere, a kitchen expert has revealed the best way to store your bananas so they remain yellow for longer. 

Mike from Kitchen Tips Online, experimented with two bunches of bananas to see which set would ripen faster.

He placed one bunch on his kitchen counter and the other inside an airtight container, before also leaving them on the counter. Inside the container, he placed an ethylene absorption ball.

The ball extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by removing the gases through an oxidation process, ensuring that the produce stays fresher for longer.

However, Mike admitted that nearly a week went by until he noticed a ‘significant’ difference between the bunches.

He found that the bananas on the counter were ‘significantly softer than the ones in the container’.

And by day 15, there was still ‘a little bit of green’ on the bananas in the airtight container.

But when he cut open the bananas from the air tight container, he noticed that there was a ‘little bit of bruising’ on the fruit – but it was ‘still edible’.

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