Antioxidants are generally associated with vibrant and colorful fruits and berries such as blueberries, sweet potatoes, and spinach. However, Oxford University Press reports that bananas, with their sunny yellow peels and creamy white fruit, also contain phenolic compounds. Bananas contain carotenoids and phytosterols beneficial in preventing cellular damage from free radicals in the body. Increase your antioxidant intake by blending a frozen banana with chunks of apple, mango, pineapple, almond milk, and kale for a satisfying green smoothie.
Bananas are a great source of energy before hitting the gym or heading out on a run. One study compared the effects of pre-exercise banana consumption to pre-exercise carbohydrate energy drink consumption. This study found the bananas to be as beneficial in fueling exercise as the carbohydrate drink, with the added benefits of fiber and antioxidants. Grab a banana before starting your daily workout for an extra boost of energy to keep you powering through.
5. Post-Workout Recovery
Bananas are great sources of nutrients after working out as well. Light exercise may warrant nothing more than rehydration with water and a simple banana. More punishing workouts such as endurance training may require a dose of protein in addition to carbohydrates. According to Openfit, the right balance of protein and carbohydrates will aid in muscle recovery and prevent muscle fatigue. In these cases, enjoy a banana along with a glass of chocolate milk or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread.Related: The Low-Down on Carbs and Belly Fat