Something you should know about a very beneficial fruit
Sometimes we all need a reliable, cheap and good energy source that’s transportable almost anywhere. If you are a cyclist or a runner — perhaps even a bodybuilder, you know how important it is to keep something by your side before, during, or after a workout. When I’m working out in a setting other than the gym, knowing I may not be home for a while, having a natural alternative I can turn to help. No, it’s not an egg — sometimes eggs just don’t cut it. Research conducted at Appalachian State University’s human performance lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus has discovered a revelation. To discover these findings, cyclists consumed either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes whilst on a 75-minute simulated road race that was about 2.5 to 3 hours inlength. Quite a long distance. After completing this exercise, blood samples were taken to uncover the results of consuming the drink & the banana. Dr David Nielman says: “We wanted to see what would be more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling — the humble banana or a carbohydrate sports drink. We found that performance was the same whether a banana or sports drinks was consumed, but there were also several advantages to consuming bananas.” So, why are bananas so beneficial when training at high intensity? Well, bananas have a lot of antioxidants, which isn’t apparent in a sports drink (perhaps more abundant in simple sugars than anything else!), a boost in nutrient value, and fibre, potassium and vitamin B. Bananas are low in calories, at only about 100 per serving of average size. If you are keen, green bananas have a considerable amount of resistant starch, which is the perfect food for the good bacteria in your gut. The only downfall of this type of banana is its floury in taste and flavourless. I get around this by cutting it up and putting small portions into my smoothies. It makes your smoothie creamy and delicious, and you still get the gut-boosting benefits. Green bananas are probably not ideal when cycling — as they don’t contain a lot of beneficial carbs and might increase your bathroom trips because of the added fibre! So, something to be aware of. Referring to the research results, Dr David Kielman states that most athletes are a little conscious of consuming a carbohydrate drink — due to its higher sugar content. But this research shows that you can have a healthy source of carbs before or after a session, and that will, in fact, athletic support performance as much as a sports drink does.
Key take away
Depending on your preference, it’s beneficial to pick a sports drink or a banana depending on your preference. I’m not too fond of sports drinks, for that matter — because of the gastrointestinal stress high levels of sugar place on my gut. But, not all athletes react this way. So, having a banana on hand closer to becoming ripe is probably a good way to battle any digestive issues that sugar might cause. The source of carbs will depend on an athlete’s exercise, intensity, and goals. For example, if you lift weights, perhaps your best option would be a banana. Muscles need carbs after training hard to replenish their glycogen stores — and a banana is a great alternative. If you want to delve deeper into this study, find all the information here.
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