Whether you love bananas or not, you have to admit that those funny white strings are, well, a bit weird and irritating when you’re trying to enjoy the fruit. The big question is, what are they for?
The strings are called ‘phloem’, and the name refers to the tissue type that serves as the plant’s vascular system, which distributes nutrients up and down the banana as it grows. So there you go, as annoying as they may be, they do have a purpose, and an important one at that!
As Dr Nicholas D Gillitt, vice president of nutrition research and director at the Dole Nutrition Institute in the US, explained to Huffington Post: ‘The phloem bundles are completely edible and are just as nutritionally rich as the main part of the fruit. In fact, the strands probably contain a lot more fibre than the rest of the fruit.’
So, while they’re maybe not the tastiest part of a banana, the next time you encounter them why not focus on what’s good about the fruit, like these surprising alternative uses for banana peels and bananas:
1. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a bug bite will relieve itching and prevent inflammation.
2. Rubbing a banana peel on house-plant leaves makes the leaves shiny.
3. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes every night will naturally whiten your teeth. You can expect to see results after doing this for two weeks.
4. Bananas help restore dry, damaged hair, according to today.com. Mash a banana and add a tablespoon of heavy cream and a tablespoon of honey to the mixture. Then apply it to dry hair, cover your hair with a shower cap and then wrap your head in a warm towel. Leave for up to an hour and then rinse thoroughly with warm water before shampooing.