Many banana enthusiasts promptly remove the peculiar strings from the fruit when peeling it. However, there are compelling reasons to retain and consume them.
Interestingly, these threads even have a Hebrew name – shifa.
Naturopath Yifat Avikasis explains that these threads are pivotal in transporting vital nutrients throughout the banana, including sugars, amino acids, and essential compounds. She said the strings are the transportation system for substances crucial to the banana’s ripening process. They facilitate the movement of enzymes and hormones, converting starches into sugars responsible for fruit ripening.
Moreover, these strings are packed with dietary fiber, promoting a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements.
Indeed, you aren’t obligated to consume these threads, and the banana itself is a contentious fruit, with some adoring its taste and texture while others remain unimpressed. However, for those who appreciate it, there are incredible nutritional benefits.
Avikasis noted that bananas are a rich source of potassium, vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, and dietary fiber – all essential for bodily functions and overall health.
She added that the potassium content in bananas is vital for maintaining stable blood pressure, promoting heart health, and more.
She said adequate potassium consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Bananas are also an excellent choice before physical exercise, as they are easily digestible, provide accessible energy, and satisfy sweet cravings.
Should You Consume Banana Peels as Well?
Interestingly, the same principles that apply to banana strings also hold for banana peels.
Although harsh and bitter, they are edible and packed with several essential nutrients. Banana peels contain nutrients such as vitamin A, B vitamins, lutein (an antioxidant that supports eye health), other antioxidants, and substantial amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber. Just like the banana flesh, the peel decelerates digestion, enhances the feeling of fullness, aids in lowering cholesterol, and generally contributes to weight management.
If you’re inclined to follow the trend, it’s worth noting that while yellow banana peels possess anti-cancer properties, green banana peels are even healthier. Green peels contain many probiotics and resistant starch, a carbohydrate variety that mimics dietary fiber. This starch helps manage blood sugar levels and fosters a prolonged sense of fullness. Since the body cannot fully absorb resistant starch, it also results in fewer calories being absorbed.