We love bananas for a bunch of reasons: They’re delicious, they inspired our current favorite hairstyle and they make an excellent prop for physical comedy. But there’s one thing we just don’t get: those weird banana strings. Why do they insist on hanging around, making our banana-eating experience less than perfect?
Well, it turns out, unlike the pockets on 50 percent of our pants, they’re not just decorative. First of all, they’re not scientifically called banana strings; they’re “phloem bundles.” And if you can get past a name that’s frankly not doing itself any favors, you’ll find that they’re actually really good for you.
Basically, phloem is complex tissue that transports food and water in a plant, providing it with sufficient food, nutrients, minerals and water to grow. So essentially, the artists formerly known as banana strings distribute nutrients up and down the banana as it ripens.
So if you’re someone who’s never even noticed that bananas have strings, carry on. But if you’re still grossed out by them, suck it up and know that they serve a real (and healthy) purpose. Or just put them in a smoothie and your taste buds will be none the wiser.