For some reason, bananas are often feared by athletes, as they have a high glycemic index. There is no need to fear a fruit that is natural and packed with health promoting nutrients.
Nutritional content of banana
The Banana, the exotic fruit, has found its way into our daily lives. Either by slicing it over cereal or mixing it into a protein shake.
The actual nutritional content of a banana is actually very kind to athletes and those who practice bodybuilding. A banana has 3 g of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbohydrates, and they are loaded with potassium. Potassium helps relieve muscle pain. If the diet is deficient in this key nutrient, then muscle pain and soreness will take much longer to go away, causing our workouts to suffer from lack of recovery. This is never the goal of a strength training routine.
Benefits of banana in health and bodybuilding
1. Fiber and Calories
One banana has 11% of the RDA for dietary fiber and only about 108 calories. The fiber in banana not only supports normal digestion, it also helps maintain blood sugar and curbs overeating.
2. Blood pressure
Studies show that the high amounts of potassium in bananas (more than 13% of the RDA) can lower the blood pressure itself, which in turn decreases the chance of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
3. Bone health
Along with lowering blood pressure, potassium prevents the weakening of the bones in the body. A high sodium intake, which is typical of many American and European diets, can cause excessive amounts of calcium to be lost through urine, jeopardizing not only the strength and general health of the bones, but also it also adversely affects blood clotting, proper muscle contraction, and normal nervous system function. The potassium found in bananas neutralizes the high amounts of sodium in the diet, allowing calcium to remain within the body.
4. Nutrient absorption
Potassium in bananas is not the only means of ensuring healthy levels of calcium in the body. Bananas also contain high levels of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which – along with insulin – promote calcium absorption. FOS nourish healthy bacteria in the colon much more than vitamins and digestive enzymes that increase the body’s overall ability to absorb nutrients.
5. Digestive tract
Bananas can relieve constipation and help restore regular digestion with pectin, a soluble polysaccharide that helps normalize the digestive tract.
6. The stomach
Bananas protect the healthy constitution of the stomach in two ways. First, they trigger mucus production in the stomach, which provides a protective barrier against stomach acids. Second, bananas have protease inhibitors, a substance that kills the bacteria in the stomach that cause ulcers. (On the other hand, the protease inhibitor also blocks the replication of certain cells and viruses, including HIV.)
7. Vitamin B6
One banana has an impressive 34% of the RDA of vitamin B6, which serves many important functions in the health of the body. For example, the vitamin B6 in bananas acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that helps prevent cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, as well as obesity. B6 also contributes to the maintenance of the lymphoid glands that ensure the production of healthy white blood cells that protect the body against infection. Lastly, the vitamin B6 in bananas plays a key role in cell formation and proper nervous system function, making one banana a day a healthy option.
As I mentioned in the introduction, there are a lot of people who are afraid to eat bananas. There is no reason to fear them, especially if you are a bodybuilder. They are a quick and easy snack, can serve as a pre-workout and post-workout meal, or can also be a great addition to your diet.
They can be used both in muscle volume and definition due to their caloric content, it is only a matter of adding them to the diet and adjusting them to the calories we consume per day.