We find bananas very appealing! Popular for their ease of preparation, nutritional composition, and subtly sweet taste they have become a staple in many diets. Bananas were originally found in Southeast Asia. Today, they are grown in many tropical regions, exported around the world, and enjoyed year-round.
You likely know that bananas are a healthy food choice, but do you know what makes them such great fuel?
Bananas for Fuel
There are a number of reasons to include bananas in your fitness routine! Here are a few health benefits that can impact your performance:
Filled with carbohydrates for sustained energy.
Bananas contain simple and complex carbohydrates providing energy that is both fast and lasting. The amount of simple and complex carbs depends on how ripe the banana is, as green bananas contain starch that is converted to sugars as it ripens.
Plenty of potassium to prevent cramping and fatigue.
Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a crucial role when working out. Sufficient potassium levels contribute to nerve function, fluid and mineral balance, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Your body loses potassium and sodium when you sweat that needs to be replenished. Especially if it is hot out or you are working out intensely for long durations. Low potassium levels may result in cramps, reduced energy, less endurance, and other complications.
Vitamin B6 to keep you focused and functioning.
Like other B vitamins, vitamin B6 helps your body turn food into energy. It also helps the brain and nervous system to function and is vital for growing minds. Furthermore, vitamin B6 helps the body to produce hormones regulating mood and stress levels. Make sure your diet includes enough vitamin B6 for optimal focus and muscle function during your workouts!
Includes fiber so you feel full.
Eating bananas will not only help you feel full, but will also contribute to a healthy gut. Most Americans are not eating enough fiber on a daily basis. Fiber is important for your digestive tract and promotes weight loss. A medium-sized banana contains roughly 3 grams of fiber, 12% of your daily-recommended consumption.
Containing vitamin C for immunity.
Stay strong and fight off germs at the gym! Bananas contain vitamin C for a healthy immune system. Additionally, vitamin C is thought to support cardiovascular health and enhance your iron absorption.
With magnesium to help muscles function and relax.
Magnesium impacts the body in a number of ways. The mineral is involved in oxygen uptake, energy production, and electrolyte balance — affecting muscle performance. Not getting enough magnesium may result in muscle cramps and hindered function.
Prebiotics for a calm and healthy gut.
Prebiotics are essentially food for the healthy probiotics that live in your gut. Including plenty of prebiotics in your diet will help probiotics to flourish — improving overall well-being and reducing risk for disease. Prebiotics have been linked to a number of healthy benefits including cardiovascular, gut, and immune health. Underripe bananas in particular are a great source of prebiotics!
Rich in glucose for fast energy.
Glucose is the easiest sugar for our body to digest, quickly providing or replenishing energy pre/post workout. The simple sugar also helps to rebuild damaged muscles by providing them with energy. In fact, studies have found that the sooner your body gets glucose post-workout, the faster your muscles can start to repair. Your body burns through glucose stores while exercising and may even start breaking down muscle for energy if levels are not properly restored. If you are partaking in an especially long or tough workout, you may even need to refuel with glucose mid-workout!
Ways to Enjoy Bananas
Bananas are great and convenient to enjoy on their own, but adding lean proteins and healthy fats to the mix will result in a slower glucose release and prolonged energy. Protein is also an important component in any post-workout routine.
Some of our favorite ways to enjoy bananas, especially if fueling up pre/post workout include:
3-Ingredient Banana Protein Pancakes
Pancakes don’t have to be complicated! These protein packed cakes are made with just three simple ingredients — bananas, rolled oats, and Svelte® French Vanilla protein shake. Vegan, gluten-free, and filled with goodness!
Switch up your classic PBJ with a toasty whole wheat tortilla. Simply spread peanut butter and banana slices on half a tortilla, fold in half, and grill in a frying pan a few minutes on each side over medium heat. The result will be a delicious, gooey, energy-packed snack!
Chocolate Cherry Post Workout Smoothie
Looking for a quick recovery? Made with healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and plant proteins, this delicious smoothie will help you recover post-workout!
Svelte® Organic Protein Shakes — Banana Crème
No time for food prep? No problem! Svelte® Banana Crème protein shakes are made with organic banana puree and packed with vitamins and minerals for lasting energy. With no refrigeration needed prior to opening, Svelte® is perfect to throw in your pack and bring along on any fitness venture!
Banana Granola Sushi
Looking for a super fun way to enjoy bananas? Try rolling them in nut butter, granola, and healthy seeds. Chop into slices of banana granola sushi and enjoy! This snack is high in healthy fats, clean carbs, fiber, and protein!