The One Fruit All Athletes Should Know About

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The humble banana is anything but basic! This inexpensive, versatile fruit might very well be the next sports drink according to a recent study out of the Dole Nutrition Research Lab.

The study compared the effect of consuming a banana versus a 6% carbohydrate drink on cyclists racing a 75 km event and found that both groups of cyclists had similar results when it came to performance, blood sugar levels, inflammation and immune levels.        

Are Banana's the Next Sports Drink?

Personally, I love the idea that a single fruit could replace an artificial sports drink but take note that this study was funded through a grant provided by Dole Foods and two of the researchers are scientists in the Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory. Apparently they assisted in the analysis of samples, and the banana flesh analysis but the funders had no role in the study’s design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Just food for thought when reading research papers.

Don't Forget about Gut Health!

Besides being the next sports drink bananas are also great for gut health as they contain both resistant starch and prebiotic inulin, which helps to feed our beneficial bacteria. Rich in folate and potassium, bananas are gentle on a stressed gut and easy to eat even when tummy troubles such as diarrhea strike....something you don’t want happening on a 75 km cycling event!

Fairtrade All the Way!

A final note on bananas: when you can, choose Fairtrade bananas to support farmers in developing countries by protecting them from agrochemicals and precarious working conditions. Check out the infographic here for more information.