Bananas! Bananas are a great sweet but healthy food, monkeys love them. I love them and sports athletes love them or at least they should.
Bananas are well known as a healthy food largely due to being a fruit but one might ask what makes bananas so good, are bananas good for everyone? Should I be eating them?
Are Bananas Good For Muscle Recovery?
Yes. Bananas are good for muscle recovery. Bananas are actually great for muscle recovery from any kind of exercise.
Bananas are good for muscle recovery due to the nutrients that they contain and not only the nutrients alone but in some cases, the rich quality of said nutrients and calories.
This is great news for individuals that exercise but even if you do not train or exercise the benefits can be shared by everyone.
So let’s look into the benefits of eating bananas and why bananas are one of the best foods for muscle recovery and building in a more specific way.
Why Are Bananas So Good For Muscle Recovery Post-Workout?
I mentioned that bananas are good for muscle recovery due to the rich healthy quality of nutrients and calories that make this fruit up, although you are probably still curious and want more details when it comes to nutrition. Why are bananas so good for muscle recovery?
Bananas are so good for muscle recovery because they are packed with vitamins and minerals they are a fiber-rich food and provide a load of high-quality fast-acting carbohydrates or carbs.
These carbs replenish glycogen stores in your muscles which are very empty after a good gym session as they are continually taped into the whole workout this will give you energy and directly help muscles build and recover.
In addition to the fast-acting carbs bananas like most foods in the fruit category also have a higher water content than other foods.
This is important because along with sugars in the form of glycogen and your energy levels water is another thing heavily depleted within your muscles while working out, particularly in the form of sweat.
Like the rest of your body, your muscles are for the most part made up of water over 70 percent actually so one can see why this would be important for muscle recovery and development.
Another two key factors that make bananas so great for muscle recovery are magnesium and potassium.
Magnesium is a nutrient that supports many chemical processes in the body and is just overall great but what makes it so great for muscle recovery is the promotion of protein metabolization.
Proteins are the fundamental building blocks of muscle and without a doubt the number one factor in recovery so being able to break down and utilize your body’s protein sources faster is a massive plus.
As a bonus bananas also contain Vitamin B6 a vitamin that along with magnesium also promotes the metabolizing of proteins.
Potassium as mentioned is also a heavy presence within bananas and potassium is said to be one of the elements muscles need to even function let alone grow and rebuild, an adult who works out needs about 5000 milligrams of potassium a day
Yet another way bananas help you recover is by increasing metabolites in the blood which enhance recovery and decrease muscle soreness. The reason for this is still a somewhat unknown factor but the consumption of bananas seems to block the activity of a particular enzyme known as COX-2.
An additional benefit to bananas on top of all these muscle recovery benefits which are so great is the health benefits in terms of your immune system. Bananas contain carotenoids, biogenic amines and other bioactive compounds along with many antioxidants that keep the immune system active reduce inflammation and joint pain as well as maintaining strength.
This is crucial since training so hard can suppress and weaken the immune system leaving you more susceptible to illnesses and other things, and if you get sick your muscles definitely won’t recover as good then. (see Muscle Recovery While Sick)
When Should You Eat Bananas? Or Eat a Banana
Now you know how great bananas are you might be very happy and are wanting to add them to your diet but are wondering when should you eat your bananas?
The great thing about eating bananas as someone who trains or participates in sports is you can eat them almost anytime and experience all the benefits whether it be pre-workout post-workout or on rest days.
Eating them before a workout will give you that increase in glycogen stores that will definitely be well-used during the workout leading to an increase in performance.
I suggest eating one a good half an hour or more before the workout though as I find if I eat a whole banana too close to working out it can lead to an uncomfortable upset stomach during training.
Eating a banana post-workout is good and my recommended time to consume one as again the increase in glycogen at this point your muscles would be near empty of glycogen so it is definitely needed. But the number one reason for me to consume one post-workout is the factors that play into bettering your body’s ability to metabolize protein.
If you want muscles to recover you need protein so pairing a banana with a high protein content food after a workout is killer as you will be giving your muscles the right tools to recover and increasing your body’s ability to use those tools by metabolizing protein thanks to the banana.
I recommend a protein smoothie or drink using bananas as an ingredient or some kind of snack or meal containing meat, chicken will deliver the leanest source of protein for muscle repair.
Eating a banana before bed can be controversial. Some might say not to eat them before bed because of the increase in glycogen which will not be used during sleep.
Although, your muscles still build and actually do most of their recovering while you are asleep so the benefits in metabolizing protein would seem perfect during this time assuming that you consumed optimal protein
While you are asleep a number of different things happen in your body that will help improve your body’s ability to utilize protein, things that would not happen while you are awake such as for example the increased release of your body’s human growth hormone.
With that being said I would try to avoid bananas right before bed due to the increase in glycogen that will be underutilized and very possibly stored away (usually in the form of fat) while you sleep.
As I said I find adding a banana into your diet post-workout is most optimal for muscle recovery. Of course, adding an additional banana post workout or during another time will only be even more beneficial. Bananas for muscle recovery and health should be a part of everyone’s nutrition plan.
How does a banana compare to a sports drink?
A banana can be a great alternative to a sports drink when it comes to post-workout recovery.
While sports drinks contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which help replenish the body after exercise, a banana also provides a good source of potassium.
Potassium is an essential mineral that helps maintain muscle function and plays a role in regulating fluid balance in the body.
In addition to potassium, bananas also contain carbohydrates, which are crucial for glycogen replenishment. Glycogen is the body’s primary source of energy during high-intensity workouts.
A banana has two types of carbs – simple sugars that provide quick energy and complex carbs that offer sustained energy.
On the other hand, sports drinks tend to be high in only simple sugars and often lack the fibre and other nutrients found in whole foods.
So, if you’re looking for a natural and nutrient-dense option to replenish and refuel after a workout, a banana would be a more suitable choice.
Are Bananas Good For Muscle Growth?
Bananas are indeed good for muscle growth. They contain several key nutrients that support muscle recovery and help build muscle.
Of course, bananas are a great source of carbohydrates, which are essential for providing the energy needed for intense workouts.
Consuming carbohydrates after a workout helps replenish glycogen stores like talked about and this ultimately aids in muscle recovery and growth.
On top of that the potassium contained in them also plays a crucial role in muscle function.
Potassium helps to regulate muscle contractions and prevent muscle cramps and spasms.
Furthermore, bananas also contain small amounts of magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, all of which are essential for proper muscle function and growth.
Therefore, including bananas in your diet not only helps muscle recovery but can help promote muscle growth and ensure optimal muscle performance.