Welcome back to Fit Food Friday, where every Friday I'll highlight foods that have great benefits for fitness and exercise! This week we're getting bananas and focusing on that yellow fruit we runners love so much! Bananas are a staple in most runner's diets...we grab them before heading out for runs and then celebrate post-run with them...but what is it that makes the banana a fit food?
Bananas are high in potassium-This makes them great for preventing muscle cramping, maintaining electrolyte balance as well as reducing blood pressure and decreasing risk for stroke!
They provide readily available fuel quickly. Including complex carbohydrate foods in your diet will provide your muscles with fuel stores for longer workouts, but consuming a simple carbohydrate food like a banana provides fuel for immediate use. The simple sugars in bananas are rapidly broken down to be available for your workouts!
Bananas are easy on the GI tract. Despite having a good amount of fiber (which helps regulate bowel movements), bananas are generally a "safe food" for people who are prone to GI upset. Bananas contain fructooligosaccharides (often called "FOS"), a prebiotic that helps to establish a healthy bacterial population in the gut.
They're "pre-packaged", super portable and very cheap! Bananas are only about $0.79 per pound and you can easily toss them in your purse or gym bag for a quick snack!
While grabbing a plain banana pre- or post-workout is simple, try slicing it up to add to oatmeal or tossing it in a smoothie with Greek yogurt to maximize the benefits! Combining the carbohydrate in the banana with a protein (maybe my favorite, peanut butter?!) will help keep you full, stabilize blood sugar and promote a healthy weight!
Stay tuned and come back next week for another edition of Fit Food Friday!