If dog is man's best friend, and diamonds are a girl's best friend...an endurance athlete's best friend would probably have to be the banana. Grown in 107 countries, they are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. For good reason! They're nature's pre-packaged, always in season, on-the-go energy source. They're also cheap and easy to prepare! Grab one off the counter, toss it in the pocket of your tri suit and you're good to go!
But did you know there are a ton of other reasons to eat your daily banana? There's a reason you see them being offered at most racing events. According to an article in Medical News Today by Megan Ware, bananas contain the following vitamins and minerals:
• Vitamin B6 - .5 mg
• Manganese - .3 mg
• Vitamin C - 9 mg
• Potassium - 450 mg
• Dietary Fiber - 3g
• Protein - 1 g
• Magnesium - 34 mg
• Folate - 25.0 mcg
• Riboflavin - .1 mg
• Niacin - .8 mg
• Vitamin A - 81 IU
• Iron - .3 mg
You can feel extra great about eating foods with these of ingredients. Each of the vitamins and minerals listed above has its own unique health benefits. We're going to discuss some of the ones we appreciate the most!
This is the big one people think of when it comes to bananas. Athletes lose a lot of potassium through their sweat during exercise, which can contribute to muscle cramping. "Potassium helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond." (Ware). Eating a banana before your workout could reduce your risk of cramps, which can be a total bummer! There is nothing worse than getting a cramp in the middle of your long run. Potassium also "keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the effect of sodium on blood pressure. Potassium may reduce the risk of kidney stones forming as people age. In turn, healthy kidneys make sure that the right amount of potassium is kept in the body." (Ware).
The health benefits of magnesium are truly amazing. This one mineral is "vital for the proper functioning of hundreds of enzymes" (Ware). It contributes to bone health, lowers your risk of diabetes and is vital for healthy muscles. Especially important muscles, such as your heart. Magnesium can also help with migraines, PMS and anxiety.
Vitamin C & Fiber
Along with fiber, this vitamin may reduce your risk of cancer. That's because vitamin C can help fight free radicals in the body that may cause cancer. High fiber intake has also been found to reduce the risk of cancer.
Are bananas your go-to fuel source? Do you enjoy them on the go or in a recipe? Tell us in the comments below!
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The following sources were utilized in this article:
Ware, Megan. "Bananas: Health benefits, facts, research". Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271157.php. 23 February 2017.