Serving Our Athletes: Nutrition

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers

Bananas are no longer an exotic fruit, but everyone is familiar and, no less important, affordable. It is loved by children and adults, adored by athletes, it is rich in vitamins and microelements we need. Let's figure out what are the benefits of fresh fruits for the body and why they are so often included in sports nutrition.

What are bananas rich in?

First, a minute of educational program: the banana tree is a myth. In fact, a banana plant is a giant herb, and its fruits are not fruits, but the same huge berries. Berries are usually associated with seeds, but they are not in bananas, because the fruits we are used to are not wild, but cultivated by humans, they simply will not grow by themselves.

The calorie content of bananas varies depending on the variety and ripeness. On average, 100 grams contains 65-150 kcal. Green fruits contain more potassium and vitamin C, they can bind the mouth, since the starch in them has not yet been converted into sugar, which means that the glycemic index in them is lower than in ripe ones. However, as they ripen, bananas accumulate beneficial antioxidants and increase calories.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers

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The variety of bananas does not end there. Nutritionist and nutritionist Anna Berseneva told us that there is a separate type of green fruit, which is intended to be used as a side dish.

Anna: This special variety is called platano verde. This is a banana used as a side dish. That is, it is boiled, or baked, or fried - an alternative to potatoes, for example, in Latin America. These bananas are high in potassium and have a slightly lower glycemic index than those eaten like berries. Therefore, there are two different purposes of use here: special green bananas, which go as a side dish (I repeat, this is a different variety) and ordinary bananas, which still need to be eaten ripe to avoid gastrointestinal disorders - diarrhea, for example.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers


Bananas have virtually no fat, no protein and no cholesterol at all. But there is a lot of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins B and C, antioxidants, and sugar. They are rarely allergic, so the fruits are recommended to be eaten even by young children and pregnant women. People with diabetes can also eat fruits, but it is worth approaching the preparation of the diet with responsibility and knowledge of the measure.

Anna: With diabetes, you can eat bananas, but it is limited. Because even in those fruits that are used as a side dish, there is a lot of starch. Better to combine them with fiber, with some kind of green leaves: spinach, arugula, and so on. Plain bananas can also be eaten, but given their glycemic index. They still raise blood sugar high enough, soFor diabetes, medication needs to be regulated.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers

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Bananas are considered healthy, balanced food. Due to the large amount of carbohydrates, they allow you to quickly fill up and fill up the lack of energy for a while. Potassium is essential for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system, it helps to remove excess fluid from the body and normalizes blood pressure. Calcium is important for bones, teeth, nails and heart function. Iron is involved in the processes of hematopoiesis.

That is why, and also because of the delicate taste and texture, bananas have become popular all over the world. They are eaten raw, dried, fried, used in baked goods and other desserts, and made into cocktails. There is even banana flour.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers

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The positive effect of bananas on the body

Cheer up

Bananas - a real natural antidepressant, which, due to the contained tryptophanes, allows the body to produce the hormone of happiness - serotonin. Regular consumption of bananas guarantees a great mood and energy boost.

Improve performance

Bananas improve memory and stimulate the brain, so they are recommended for all mental workers , as well as schoolchildren and students, especially during exams. Also, the fruits relieve the symptoms of anxiety, which prevent a person from concentrating on the tasks.

Relieve stress

Vitamins of group B and tryptophans will help relieve nervous tension, get rid of stress and depressed mood. Magnesium also has a positive effect.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers


Help with gastrointestinal problems

Bananas have an enveloping effect, therefore they are a sure remedy for heartburn. In addition, they are useful for acidic gastritis. Fiber helps to remove toxins from the body and contributes to normal bowel function.

Eliminate insomnia

All the same tryptophans are not only responsible for a good mood, but are also natural sleeping pills. An evening snack with a banana will help get rid of insomnia and guarantee a normal sleep.

Improve the cardiovascular system

Potassium and magnesium have a positive effect on the state of the cardiovascular system, help nourish and oxygenate brain cells. High potassium levels help regulate heart rate and maintain optimal blood flownew pressure. Iron prevents anemia by increasing the level of hemoglobin in the blood.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers

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Despite the huge number of advantages of eating bananas, it is better not to prescribe miraculous properties to fruits. For example, it is widely believed that they help you quit smoking. However, our expert believes that berries are unlikely to help give up nicotine.

Anna: As for smoking, there is a dubious relationship. At least scientifically, I think it is difficult to prove it. Yes, bananas contain certain substances that contribute to the production of the hormone of happiness. And it may be emotionally easier to endure quitting smoking by eating sweet, cuddly, tasty foods. But to say that this is a proven fact is hardly.

On the cons: what are bananas harmful?

With all their advantages and balanced chemical composition, bananas are contraindicated for some people. This can be attributed to several factors.

High glycemic index

Bananas are high in sugar and high in glycemic index, so they quickly raise insulin levels. As we said, diabetics should be very careful with such a product.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers


Increase blood viscosity

Bananas remove fluid from the body, which leads to an increase in blood viscosity and a decrease in blood flow to certain parts of the body. Therefore, the fruits are not recommended for venous diseases, a tendency to form blood clots, as well as with coronary heart disease.

Exacerbations of gastrointestinal diseases

Despite the fact that bananas fruitfully affect the work of the gastrointestinal tract, with an exacerbation of diseases, it is worth giving them up for a while. Also, berries are not recommended for irritable bowel syndrome, as they can cause bloating.


If you are overweight, bananas can be consumed in small quantities. There will be no trouble from one fruit in the morning, but you should not eat too many of them, because it is a high-calorie product.

Why do athletes eat bananas and are they so useful? Nutritionist answers

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Why are bananas popular among athletes?

Intense training requires a lot energy costs that need to be quickly replenished after class, and the banana in this case acts as a lifesaver. Snacking with them is much more convenient than laying out trays of chicken and rice. One or two bananas are enough to close the carbohydrate window.

In addition, potassium is washed out of the body along with sweat, which protects the heart muscle, and a lack of it can lead to seizures. Amino acids help you focus on the gameor competition, calm your nerves and maintain full concentration.

So bananas contain the perfect combination of nutrients not only for amateur athletes, but also for professionals. Some athletes still prefer energy bars, but you can often see tennis or hockey players eating the yellow fruit right on the court or bench.

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