By Korin Miller
Love chugging a sports drink after you work up a sweat? According to new research, there's a cheaper way to get an energy boost.
Scientists from Appalachian State University discovered that eating a banana will give you the same benefits as chugging a sports drink after a tough workout. Even better, they provide antioxidants and more nutrition than energy drinks, like fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6. Plus, they have less sugar and cost a fraction of the price.
For the study, researchers monitored cyclists who downed a banana or a sports drink during an intense workout, and analyzed their blood afterward.
Cyclists who ate half a banana every 15 minutes had just as much energy as the ones who consumed sports drinks, but got more nutrients in the end.
Bananas are one of the world's finest foods for supplying fuel energy. They supply a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates that foster a quick and efficient conversion to useable fuel. Whether you need quick energy release or long lasting energy, bananas supply the fuel for the occasion.
Our bodies convert all food matter into simple carbohydrates (sugars) for use as fuel. This process can require considerable energy, and will often leave you tired, especially after a large meal. The carbohydrates in ripe bananas are already in their simplest form, and can be digested easily with a minimum of energy loss.
The sugars in bananas are called glucose and fructose. Glucose is the most easily digestible sugar. It gets into your bloodstream rapidly and can be utilized for a quick release of energy. The fructose is absorbed more slowly, and thus it provides a more lasting fuel release. Neither glucose nor fructose cause the adrenaline surge linked to consumption of sucrose (table sugar) that gives children the "run around like crazy" and then leaves them exhausted.
Bananas are famous as a good source of potassium, a mineral involved in proper muscle contraction. Insufficient potassium is one of the main causes of fatigue, muscle cramping and dehydration.
Bananas supply the dense and ready carbohydrates necessary to replace the muscle glycogen (muscle sugar) used during exercise. It is wise to eat bananas before, during, and after long bouts of activity, and after shorter, more intense sessions.
A good idea for energy is to have the daily lunch meal revolve around bananas. Five bananas plus other fruits and vegetables will leave you alert and with enough fuel to last the rest of the day.
Not a fan of eating while you work out? Noshing on a banana after you hit the gym should give you the same boost. Here's a good post-workout shake that includes 2 frozen bananas, dates and hemp seeds.