But there’s more to bananas that make them such a favorite with so many people. They’re super easy to carry. You don’t need tools to peel the thing. Plus, you can eat it whenever, wherever. (Well, except in a class of teenage girls who have just been taught how sex works…)
Bananas are also cheap and they are available all year round which makes it super easy for us to eat it. The nutritional value of a banana is also ideal. That little thing carries “significant amounts of vitamins B2, B5, B6, B9, and C, as well as magnesium, manganese, and potassium.”
If we could mention one annoying thing about bananas, it would have to be those strings that are on it whenever we start peeling it. Or have you never noticed those strings? Do you eat them? Do you peel each one carefully before you eat the fruit?
If that name sounds familiar, then maybe it’s because you remember something from biology class. Remember that lesson about “phloem and xylem.” If so, then you’d remember that these two “describe the complex tissues that transport food and water in a plant, providing it with sufficient food, nutrients, minerals and water to grow.”
Basically, “phloem bundles” are those which “distribute water and nutrients” to the banana. So if you have been throwing them away, then you might want to rethink doing so. Even if they seem unappetizing.
A director at the Dole Nutrition Institute, Nicholas Gillitt, spoke about the importance of the phloem. He explains: “Although we have not specifically tested phloem bundles, it is likely that there would be a difference in its nutritional value. Since they are intended to do a specific job, and as such likely have a defined structure which supports that job, they would be expected to have a different compound profile to the regular edible banana flesh.”
Gillitt adds that it is very likely the phloem has additional nutritional value. “They likely contain more and varied types of fiber and structural components required for their function. Because of this, they probably would have a different nutritional profile for humans.”
Gillitt explains that much like other things on the fruit, the phloem is also edible and will not cause harm. “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 harmful.”
The skin of a potato has several nutrients. These include the important vitamin B and vitamin C. The potato skin also holds iron, calcium, and potassium which are all key nutrients for us. Not to mention fiber.
Peels on fruit are also valuable and should be eaten if you can stomach them. These include the skin of an apple which contains “an antioxidant called quercetin.” Plus, eating the skin means less time peeling and more time doing more important things.
An orange peel is also very nutritious. “Orange peels have a compound called polyethoxylated flavones, which lower cholesterol and protect the heart.” If the orange peel is too much to stomach, you can still have some zest to get a little bit of that compound from the peel.