Go banana

Nutrition
Thursday, 05 November 2015 977 Views 0 Comments
Go banana

By Sobiya Moghul

Here’s what bananas do for the runner’s body

What’s the first thing you need after an arduous run? Energy! And bananas are a natural energy booster; a snack that keeps you healthy and in high spirits, both before and after a run. That’s exactly why you find them on post-race nutrition tables. Here’s all you need to know about this super fruit:

Nutritional Know How

Bananas replenish glycogen and potassium levels in your body after a run. According to the Colorado State University Extension Report, a runner needs 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day and a banana makes up for 1/10th of this daily need by offering 487 milligrams of potassium per fruit. This energy powerhouse also contains 31 grams of carbohydrate and 3.5 grams of fiber which acts as an energy refill during exercise and helps in moderating glucose absorption.

The potassium high

Runners often worry that they may suffer a potassium overdose with bananas. But for that to happen, you’ll have to eat 400 bananas, in under 30 seconds, and digest them all in minutes!

The high potassium levels in bananas prevent cramps during exercise and are excreted from the body in the form of sweat. This yellow fruit is also involved in fluid balance and regulation of nerve impulses in runners.

Energy powerhouse

We all know carbohydrates are a good source of energy and a banana can quickly refurbish your carbohydrate balance when eaten immediately after a run. This is because carbohydrates convert directly into the muscle fuel, glycogen.

Magnesium supply

Loaded with magnesium, this sunshine coloured fruit keeps your bones healthy even under stress.

Vitamin B6 fix

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 which is responsible for boosting immunity, maintaining energy metabolism, producing hemoglobin, transferring oxygen to the cells in the body, developing white blood cells, and supplying energy to your muscles.

In Contemporary Nutrition, Gordan Wardlaw highlighted that runners’ need higher than the recommended amount of vitamin B6. This is because the levels of glycogen and amino acids get depleted quickly, while running.

In case of magnesium deficiency in a runner, he/she can suffer from stress, depression, nerve issues and skin problems. A single banana offers 22 per cent of the daily requirement of vitamin B6.

In India we find different varieties of bananas, like elaichi (velchi), dwarf Cavendish, but their nutritional advantages are similar, with only slight differences in sugar, starch and fibre content.

How many bananas should a runner consume?

You can have a medium sized banana, 30-60 minutes before a run (easy level), so that your body gets ample time to digest it and gives you sufficient energy for your run.

In case of a long run or a marathon, have bananas in combination with other high-carb foods like raisins and energy bars. Start the race with medium sized banana and eat another while running.

On a non-activity day, add bananas to your cereal or make a smoothie with bananas and skimmed milk.

With so much to offer, bananas are a smarter snack for the runner.

References

Plasma Potassium Concentration and Content Changes After Banana Ingestion in Exercised Men

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499889/

What to eat before and after exercise

http://espn.go.com/trainingroom/s/1999/1112/166818.html

What to eat before running

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/eat-running-article-1.1446865

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