Bananas are a plant-based runner’s best friend!

Carbohydrates and Fiber

A typical, medium sized banana (118g) has 26g of carbohydrates and 3.1 grams of fiber.

Bananas contain mainly two types of fiber: pectin and resistant starch. Pectin decreases as the banana ripens and resistant starch is found in unripe bananas. Pectin might help protect against colon cancer, while resistant starch feeds the good gut bacteria because it is indigestible.

Diets that are high in fiber can help facilitate weight loss because they are satiating. For runners that are trying to keep their weight in check, this might be a good option because bananas allow you to restore your glycogen stores without a ton of calories and will help keep you full!

The Glycemic Index

In unripe bananas (green/yellow) the carbohydrates are mostly starches. In ripe bananas (yellow/brown) the carbohydrates are mostly sugars. Believe it or not, the glycemic index of a banana is fairly different depending on how ripe it is. Unripe bananas contain decent amounts of resistant starch which is great for colon health and healthy blood sugar levels. One banana has 3.1 g of fiber – which is about 12% of the Daily Value!

The glycemic index (or GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested, absorbed and metabolized and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar (glucose) levels. Low GI carbohydrates – the ones that produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose and insulin levels – is one of the secrets to long-term health, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is also one of the keys to maintaining weight loss. Here is the evidence.

High GI foods have a GI of > 55 and low GI foods, have a GI of < 55.

Source: http://glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php

Micronutrients: Minerals and Vitamins

Bananas are most widely recognized for their potassium content. A medium banana has 422 mg potassium, which is about 12% of the Daily Value.

Bananas also have a pretty significant amount of Vitamin B6 – about 20% of the Daily Value.

When to eat bananas

You can’t go wrong with bananas, they are good pre-workout, during your workout, or post-workout.

Bananas are a particularly a great post-workout snack. Post workout, you want to focus on a mix of carbohydrates and protein. This combination of carbohydrates and protein after your workout allows you to replenish your glycogen stores while decreasing muscle breakdown, increasing muscle growth, and ultimately speeding up recovery.

RECIPE: Protein Banana Ice Cream

150g frozen banana

100g frozen cauliflower

50g silken tofu

15g Vega Protein Powder (I use vanilla)

1 tsp. vanilla extract.

Place all ingredients into a food processor and enjoy!

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