In a world of sports drinks and energy bars, many athletes are sticking with one of nature’s most powerful performance foods: the banana. This sweet fruit may look like a simple snack, but don’t be fooled. They are a powerhouse of antioxidants, fiber and important nutrients. Bananas fuel athletes.
Bananas provide the boost you need to perform at the top of your game while contributing to an overall healthy lifestyle. Here are a few reasons why every athlete should pack a few bananas before heading out the door.
Rich in Potassium
Bananas are loaded with potassium. One medium-sized fruit provides around 450 milligrams of potassium. That’s 13 percent of your daily recommended intake, according to LiveStrong.
Potassium is a key mineral for enhancing athletic performance. This includes aiding muscle movement, controlling blood sugar levels and even promoting proper heart function.
Potassium also works to regulate the fluid levels in your body to help prevent cramps, and it plays an important role in muscle development.
A Boost of Energy
The 30 grams of carbohydrates in an average banana provide the fast, efficient energy your body needs to maximize performance. In fact, a 2012 study by Appalachian State University found that the tasty fruit is just as effective as sports drinks in boosting athletic performance.
Carbohydrates fuel muscle activity while supporting the central nervous system, keeping your mind and body responsive and strong.
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Minerals for Good Sleep
Bananas provide a boost of energy during your training, but they also help you relax and sleep well at the end of your training day. Ultimately Natural states that the high levels of potassium and nearly 32 milligrams of magnesium in a banana play an important role in helping your tired muscles relax.
Bananas may also have a calming effect on the whole body since they contain tryptophan. This helps the body convert to the calming hormones melatonin and serotonin.
A medium-sized banana has just over 10 milligrams of vitamin C, around 17 percent of your daily recommended intake, according to Self NutritionData. This essential vitamin aids the repair of wounds and soft tissue damage from intense exercise. It also helps your body synthesize adrenaline, and supports the immune system. Not to mention it’s important for promoting strong ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Bananas are one of 7 Healthy Foods You Should be Eating Regularly.
Cheap and Easy to Carry
Athletes love bananas for their year-round availability in supermarkets and gas stations everywhere. The fruits are inexpensive and lightweight. Their tough peel makes them easy to carry in a sports bag while isolating them from bacteria and other germs.
You can also easily blend them into your pre-workout shake. Another idea is to slice them over your cereal or oatmeal for a powerful training day breakfast.
Bananas are a healthy, efficient alternative to sports drinks and other performance foods. They provide the nutrition and energy you need to keep going strong.
Pack a few to munch on before, during and after your athletic activities for a wholesome boost. Your body is sure to thank you for it. Bananas fuel athletes!