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Bananas | The Perfect Bodybuilding Fruit

By Carmen Grange

Bananas | The Perfect Bodybuilding Fruit

     Carbohydrates post workout are essential to a muscle building diet and workout regimen.  They should be consumed no longer than 30 minutes after a workout.  To enhance the effectiveness of post-workout carbohydrates and muscle hypertrophy, they should be consumed every 2 hours following a workout as well.  For many athletes, that first source of carbs after exercise comes in the form of bananas.  Fruits, in general, are primarily carbohydrates which make them the perfect post-workout fuel in addition to the various other benefits they supply.


     Carbs are essential to make the fastest and greatest amount of energy, especially after exercise.  They may be used as an immediate source of energy replenishment, and as a result, consuming them will boost energy, and enhance protein generation and resynthesis, leading to greater muscle hypertrophy.  So, why bananas?  On average, bananas contain about 105 kilocalories, 27g of carbs, 14g of sugar, 3.1g of fiber, and 422mg of potassium.  And what does all of that mean?



     3.1g of fiber doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but depending on your gender, it can make up anywhere from 7-12% of the daily fiber recommendation.  According to the Institute of Medicine, women should have 25g of fiber per day, while men should ingest 38g of fiber daily.  Bananas help provide a good dose of those daily recommendations.  



     A fully ripe banana will have a glycemic index value of 51 on a scale of 0-100.  The glycemic index rates carbs on how quickly glucose is absorbed in the body.  In the case of post-workout fuel, sugar is beneficial in building muscle; therefore, consuming a banana that has more sugar will help synthesize protein better than a banana with a lower sugar content.  The nutritional value of a banana varies based upon its size and ripeness.  On average, bananas contain about 14g of sugar.  The riper a banana, the greater sugar content it possesses.



     In athletics it is important to know the proper values of macronutrients that should be consumed on a daily basis based on your body type; however, that does not mean that vitamins and minerals should be neglected.  Bananas are rich in potassium, containing approximately 422mg on average.  Potassium has numerous health benefits, a few of which are essential to enhancing muscular hypertrophy and reducing injury risks.  Low blood glucose may occur as a result of low potassium levels.  A lack of blood sugar content may lead to dizziness, sweating, weakness and nervousness, among other symptoms.  Hypokalemia (muscle cramps) happens as a result of low potassium levels as well.    Muscle cramps are not only annoying, but they may cause accomplishing everyday tasks to be very difficult due to a reduced capacity to use that muscle.  Increasing potassium consumption is an as easy way to fix hypokalemia.  Since low potassium levels induce hypokalemia, it is not surprising to find that sufficient potassium levels cause muscular contractions and muscular relaxation to occur.  Potassium works in concert with other minerals to cause muscular contractions based upon how much of the nutrient is present in the cell and whether it is going into or out of the muscle cell; therefore, a healthy dose of potassium is essential to produce muscular contractions and relaxation.


     When choosing post-workout food, keep in mind that foods high in protein and carbohydrates are your friend.  Don’t shy away from sugar. It is converted inside the muscle cell into energy to use to do work.  Bananas are a fast and easy way to get a good dose of carbohydrate and sugar to help refuel glycogen stores and to ultimately increase muscle hypertrophy


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