When you think of sports supplements, what comes to mind? Most likely a colourful bottle with a funky-flavoured energy drink or a space-age nutrition bar made of ingredients that sound like they took years of research to arrive at. But that’s the difference between us and elite sportspeople – when they think of what could help to bring out the best in them on the pitch, they know that they can’t afford to get it wrong. Which is why, when Manchester United star, Marcus Rojo, needed a pick-me-up during his match on Thursday night, his manager, Jose Mourinho, turned to the most advanced energy food of all – the banana.
Yes, the banana. The fruit that’s defined our childhood in India may very well be one of the most effective and naturally-occurring energy foods in existence. And let’s face facts – this is one thing we really did discover before the West! Yes, boss, India discovered the banana. Here’s a quick rundown of the banana’s health benefits for those of you who still need proof:
Bananas are big on nutrition, but low on calories:
Bananas are rich in fibre, antioxidants and several nutrients. A medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories. It’s mostly comprised of water and carbs, with very little protein and almost no fat at all.
Bananas are full of antioxidants:
In general, fruits are a great source of antioxidants and the banana is no exception. Given that antioxidants have been linked to many health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative diseases, maybe it’s time to start peeling.
Bananas could help you regulate blood sugar levels and lose weight:
They’re rich in a fibre called pectin, in addition to containing resistant starch which acts as a soluble fibre and avoids digestion. This ability of the banana to slow down the process of stomach emptying and thereby reduce appetite and snacking, while also ranking low on the glycaemic index (which indicates that it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels), makes it a real competitor when it comes to healthy foods. Oh, did we mention that resistant starch has been shown to tentatively improve insulin sensitivity?
Bananas put the K in Kool:
Forgive the awful Chemistry pun, but bananas are an excellent source of potassium, too! Potassium is great for blood pressure control and healthy kidneys. In the long term, people who eat bananas 4-6 times a week are nearly 50 percent less likely to develop kidney diseases than people who don’t.
If it isn’t already apparent by now, let’s just say it again. Bananas are amazingly good for you. And if you don’t want to take our word for it, at least trust one of the world’s elite football managers. Just be better than Jose and never hand someone a fully-peeled fruit with your bare hands– there’s only so much the humble banana can do.
Like this article? Also read: Summer Veggie Guide: How to Cook Amaranth Leaves
Cover Image Courtesy: Screengrab