Why Athletes Eat Bananas

Photo by Mike Dorner

As a child, I used to indulge in tennis night sessions with my dad. After some time, I began to notice patterns — one of which was that after every 2 games (games, not matches), players switch ends and a transitionary 90 second resting period ensued. If you’ve ever watched tennis, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The players then sit on their bench, wipe their sweat off, drink some isotonic water, delight in whatever rest rituals they have. Occasionally, they take a bite off a banana.

Throughout the years of those tennis all-nighters (I live on the eastern hemisphere, we watch live tennis matches on the PM), I notice that players come and go, rankings fluctuate, and even rules evolve. The fruit, however, it never changed.

Bananas are no doubt, extremely delicious and nutritious. They are packed with various essential nutrients and extends benefits for digestion, heart health, and weight loss. One medium sized banana (118g) contains 105 calories, 24g of carbohydrates, 3.1g of fibre, 1.3g of protein, and 0.4g of fat. Comparing them to an apple of similar mass, which contains 65 calories, 17g of carbs, 3g of fibre, 0.3g of protein, and 0.2g of fat, bananas are obviously the superior fruit when it comes to caloric and nutritional density.

Bananas are also very cheap, accessible, and convenient. At around $0.60/lb, they are one of the cheapest fruits out there. For comparisons sake, oranges cost around $1/lb and apples closer to $1.6/lb. They are available almost all year long and is a very common fruit throughout the globe. Bananas also have a protective outer skin (unlike apples and pears), which makes bringing it around and about super easy, while all-the-time keeping the inside still clean and hygienic. Be careful not to squish them inside your bag though, a banana purée in your bag is a nightmarish sight.

Bananas also contain a multitude of minerals and vitamins such as potassium, vit B6, vit C, copper, and manganese, which supplement physical fitness and reduce the risk of exercise injuries such as cramps. In addition to that, the high-carb content in bananas make them easy to digest, which gives athletes an almost instant burst of energy at their disposal.

Bananas are also known for their benefits towards sleep, and we all know how important that is for physical fitness. The minerals that are housed within bananas are known to help relax overstretched muscles. They are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which converts to serotonin and melatonin (the brains key calming hormones) and helps relax the body — setting it up perfectly for restful slumber.

If you’re an athlete or a fitness enthusiast of any kind for that matter, incorporating bananas to your diet should be a no-brainer. They should not only be part of your diet, but also your ultimate go-to snack. If the athletes love it, then so should you.



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Jonathan Adrian

Jonathan Adrian


Junior doctor, writer, photographer, and part-time social media strategist.