Bananas are good for building muscle mass, replenishing glycogen stores, and electrolytes. It can help you recover faster, after a hard workout.
Is it OK to eat a banana every day?
According to the USDA, a banana contains about 120 calories. Most of them come from carbohydrates.
A banana consists of 100 gr water, 31 gr carbs (16 gr sugars), 1.5 gr protein, and 0.45 gr fats.
How many bananas should you eat in a day?
Moreover, bananas contain many minerals and vitamins.
They are nutrient-dense food, with few calories. The best time to eat them is at breakfast.
Even people with diabetes can consume bananas in moderation, despite its sugar content. Consult your doctor if you have diabetes. Probably, you shouldn’t eat more than a banana per meal.
Green, ripe, or overripe banana?
Green or under-ripe bananas contain mainly starch. The starch percentage is about 80-90% of the carbohydrate content.
As the banana ripens the carbohydrate content changes. Starches convert to sugars.
Sugars are digested more easily than starches. For this reason, you have more energy in less time when you eat a ripe or overripe banana. That’s important for athletic performance.
On the other hand, if you want a steady release of energy for a longer time, prefer a green or slightly ripe banana, as it contains fewer sugars and more starches.
If you have diabetes, or if you aren’t going for a walk or a workout maybe you should prefer a green or slightly ripe banana as well.
Banana in the morning or evening?
Prefer to eat your bananas in the morning.
They provide you with the energy you need.
You better avoid consuming bananas during the evening, before bedtime, or if you are going to relax on your sofa.
Banana before workout
You can try to eat a banana one or two hours before a workout or a race. Banana will give you the wanted energy and will provide you with many minerals.
Prefer ripe or overripe bananas as they contain more sugar.
A medium banana contains about 120 calories and 100 gr of water.
Banana after workout
Banana is an excellent post-workout meal as well.
After a hard workout, the glycogen reserves of the body have been decreased.
Glycogen is mainly stored in the muscles and it’s our fuel source.
After a training session, we should restore glycogen storage. Eating quality carbs is the most effective way.
Otherwise, we won’t be able to rest effectively. The aftermath is a decrease in athletic performance and fatigue.
Banana contains both starch and sugars, helping us restore our energy storage. For this reason, it’s an excellent choice for a post-workout snack.
You can find ideas for a healthy green post-workout smoothie here.
Can a banana restore electrolyte imbalances?
But a banana provides much more…
During exercise in a hot environment, we tend to sweat more…
While sweating we lose electrolytes, creating electrolyte imbalances that must be restored fast. Electrolytes are minerals found in foods.
The major electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium.
Electrolyte imbalances are very common among runners. They tend to sweat for a long time, losing precious electrolytes. So, they must consume mineral-rich foods in order to avoid leg cramps during a workout or a race.
Bananas contain many electrolytes. It’s an excellent choice for people who exercise in hot conditions, as these minerals deplete from the body through sweat.
Can bananas prevent leg cramps?
A medium banana contains:
- Potassium:487mg. According to the National Institue of Health (NIH), adult men need 3400mg of potassium daily, while women need about 2600-2900mg. Just a medium banana can provide up to 18% DV (Daily Value).
- Calcium: 6.8mg. Adults need about 1000mg of calcium daily, so a banana can’t provide you with adequate calcium. Don’t worry… If you’re vegan you can meet your daily calcium needs consuming broccoli, cabbage, rice, oats, pulses, raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, quinoa, and tahini. Eat tahini…Just a tablespoon of tahini contains 64mg of calcium. Additionally many seeds and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnut, and sesame seeds contain calcium. Also, there are many calcium-fortified vegan foods like fortified-tofu, fortified orange juice, and fortified soy milk.
- Magnesium: 36.7mg. According to the National Institue of Health (NIH), adult men need 420mg of magnesium daily, while women need about 310-360mg. Just a medium banana can provide up to 12% DV (Daily Value). You can easily consume all the magnesium you need daily from a whole food plant-based diet. Greens, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains all contain magnesium.
- Sodium: 1.36mg. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. That’s equal to about 1 tablespoon of salt. Banana contains only traces of sodium. If you eat packaged or processed foods this shouldn’t be a problem for you. In another case, put some sea salt in your food, during hard workouts and you’ll be fine.
Banana doesn’t contain any chloride. Chloride can be found in any food as sodium chloride, which is table salt.
Any processed food that has added salt, contains chloride. If you eat processed foods you shouldn’t worry about chlorine deficiency.
On the other hand, if you avoid processed foods, you can eat chlorine-rich vegetables, such as celery, seaweed, tomatoes, lettuce, and olives.
Just to be safe, if you run for a long time under the hot sun, try to eat a tablespoon of salt daily. You’ll cover both your sodium and chlorine daily needs.