Are Bananas Good Food for Workout Recovery?

11th June 2019
In terms of workout recovery, bananas are one of the most interesting fruits. This powerful natural food contains a wonderful amount of minerals and vitamins, which are very important and essential nutrients. 

Eating bananas could be the key to your workout recovery. If you consume bananas during and after your workout, it can even help prolong your efforts and increase stamina. The effects bananas have on your body can be even more beneficial than so-called sports drinks.

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We can see an example of this during Rafael Nadal’s televised tennis matches. Between sets, the Spaniard always eats a banana, which gives him an extra dose of energy. Surely you already knew that eating bananas is good for you on a nutritional level, but can this fruit also improve your performance?

Carbohydrates give you energy

Nutritionists have been saying for a long time just how important the contribution of carbohydrates is to our diets. However, it’s always recommended that you consume some of them in moderation, such as pasta or rice. That being said, when it comes to natural carbohydrates, it’s an entirely different thing.

The fact is that this kind of food contains sugars that take a while to synthesize. Thanks to this biological interval, what you consume gives you an instant source of energy. However, some foods such as bread can have the opposite effect and turn into fat.

No athlete wants to get out of shape. Having said that, the type of sugars that bananas produce, as well as how they synthesize, appear to be much better than those of other carbohydrates. Essentially, we’re talking about a carbohydrate that won’t directly cause weight gain, nor any kind of discomfort.

Sports drinks for workout recovery

Obviously, the easiest way to consume sugar is by directly ingesting glucose or sucrose. For decades, athletes were getting these substances through sports drinks. The problem is that the sugars used in these products aren’t natural.

However, bananas contain natural fructose which is practically harmless and much easier on the human body. Additionally, bananas oxygenate all the organs and, of course, facilitate your respiration while working out.

Bananas are also rich in potassium, folate, vitamins B1 and B3, and other elements with plenty of antioxidants.

Woman drinking a sports drink after workout recovery

To summarize, bananas are much healthier than sports drinks. Additionally, they provide more vitamins and minerals. As a result, experts believe that bananas could be a much healthier option for workout recovery.

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Bananas are invaluable for workout recovery

From a more general perspective, bananas contribute to more than just an increase in energy. Thanks to the high concentration of potassium and other minerals, bananas are a natural anti-inflammatory. In fact, eating bananas helps prevent muscle cramps and pain.

Eating this fruit also has positive effects on your digestive health. Bananas help protect the mucous and the intestinal walls. As a result, this fruit may help prevent stomach pain and other digestive conditions.

If that weren’t enough, this fruit helps stimulate the appetite, which is great for those who need to gain weight. The fact is, bananas provide you with great nutrition in a balanced and controlled way, without cholesterol or fat.

Bananas also improve your mood

Bananas contain a substance known as tryptophan, which is essential for stimulating the production and activation of serotonin. Of course, this helps promote the proper function of your central nervous system.

The result: athletes and practically anyone else can improve their mood by consuming bananas. It’s also believed that this food can improve memory thanks to its relationship with serotonin.

That being said, it’s not logical to think that all these benefits mean that you can eat bananas indiscriminately. Excessive consumption of bananas can actually affect your kidney function, although for this to happen, your banana intake would need to be rather high.

Sliced banana on a plate

Disadvantages of sports drinks and energy drinks

In addition to their high processed sugar content, sports drinks don’t even quench your thirst. For that reason, we tend to mistakenly drink more of them than we should while we’re working out.

Unlike bananas, these drink products can contribute to sodium loss. In extreme cases, this could lead to a condition called hyponatremia, which is when the sodium level in the blood is too low.

For this and many other reasons, athletes should consider the possibility that bananas could be the perfect snack for workout recovery. If you’re not a professional, even drinking higher amounts of water would be better than consuming industrial sports drinks.

  • López Farré, A. Plátano de Canarias y salud. Extraído de: http://www.invesplacan.es/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Libro_Monografico_Platano.pdf
  • Di Carlo, N.G. 2011. Consumo de antioxidantes naturales en deportistas. Universidad Abierta Interamericana. Extraído de: http://imgbiblio.vaneduc.edu.ar/fulltext/files/TC111503.pdf