Bananas Support Athletic Performance
Many athletes and active people take sports drinks to hydrate themselves and take advantage of their sugar and electrolyte content to boost their physical performance. New research shows that eating bananas can have the same effects, and may even be healthier because of the antioxidant properties and fiber these fruits offer.
In the study conducted by Dr. David C. Nieman of the Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab, trained cyclists were given either half a banana or a cup of carbohydrate drink every 15 minutes in a 75-kilometer simulated road race that lasted for 2.5 to 3 hours. Blood samples were taken from the cyclists before and after the race and were analyzed for more than 100 metabolites (substances related to metabolism).
Their findings revealed that as far as athletic performance was concerned effects of bananas and sports drinks were similar. However, the bananas provided more health benefits to the cyclists in terms of antioxidant content which are not found in sports drinks. A greater nutritional boost was also associated with eating bananas because they provided more potassium, Vitamin B6 and fiber. Furthermore, a healthier blend of natural sugars is contained in bananas compared to sports drinks.
These findings support the reasons why bananas are a favorite source of energy for athletes. But this study, which was funded by Dole Foods, shows that fruits, compared to sports drinks, can be a better source of natural sugars and other nutrients, including antioxidants, that can provide active people the energy they need before and after endurance training and recreational activities.
Appalachian State University (2012, May 29). Bananas are as beneficial as sports drinks, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2012.