The next time you’re watching a major tennis tournament, check out the players during the breaks between games. During the latter stages of a long and gruelling match, players often unpeel a banana, and not because they are craving their delicious flavour. Instead, they know that bananas have a lot of magical qualities that can help their game. As firm believers in the power of nutrition at our Mt Eden physio clinic, the team can fully understand why athletes eat bananas before, during and after their events. But you don’t have to be an elite sportsperson to get something out of the not so humble banana. This superfood can help anyone.
For a start, bananas contain so many important nutrients. A medium-size banana will deliver:
All of this plus a healthy dose of fibre (approx 3 grams) and just 0.4 grams of fat.
Potassium in particular is an essential mineral in optimising an athlete’s performance. It plays a key role in several bodily functions like muscle movement of muscles, regulating water levels in the body, and helps in preventing cramps, which are common when a sportsperson has been sweating it out for several hours. As 95% of the general population suffer from cramps as well, a diet rich in potassium could be very helpful in alleviating this super-painful condition.
As well as replacing many minerals and vitamins that might be sweated out during activity, a banana can also pack an almost-instant energy punch and this is why so many athletes eat them. There are around 30 grams of carbohydrates in a medium-size banana and this is the fuel that athletes need when they’ve been exerting themselves for any length of time. One study suggested that bananas were more effective than sports drinks in this respect, so if you’re in need of a mid-afternoon pick me up, reach for a banana.
Bananas are good for everyone, not just elite athletes. They’re also considered to me mood improvers and as a sleep aid, thanks in part to being so abundant in magnesium. If they’re not on your weekly shopping list, they should be. The team at our physiotherapy clinic in Mt Eden recommends them as a superfood that is hard to beat.