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Bananas and Sports Performance

By Douglas N. Graham, D.C.

Bananas are the perfect food for active people. Self-contained, portable, tasty, easy to eat, filling, available year-round, inexpensive, and with a perfect mix of nutrients, bananas are the ultimate fast food for people on the go!

A single banana supplies more carbohydrates than any other piece of fruit. A meal of bananas will provide enough fuel so that you can remain active for hours.

Bananas are so sustaining because they yield up of their energy in increments. The carbohydrates in bananas are in three forms: glucose, fructose (both simple carbohydrates) and a complex carbohydrate. The complex carbohydrate is the slowest to break down into available fuel, hence it provides the longest lasting source.

During activities that last longer than one hour, it is possible to drain the muscles of their fuel (glycogen) and begin to use the limited sugars in the bloodstream to feed muscles. To prevent low blood sugar during exercise (a condition that makes you feel very tired), it is wise to drink a sports drink that is high in glucose. This will replenish the sugars that are used. Glucose enters the bloodstream very rapidly. A banana or two blended into a quart of water will provide glucose to act as fuel for energy during sports or hard work, and digest easily enough so that you do not experience stomach problems.

After exercise it is important to refill the muscle glycogen or you will remain tired. Bananas are excellent for this role as well. The fructose of bananas enters the bloodstream more slowly than glucose, yet both are easily converted to muscle glycogen. The "glycemic index" tells us how quickly the carbohydrates in foods get into our system. Bananas are grouped with foods that have the highest glycemic index.

Bananas also have an excellent mix of vitamins and minerals needed to fuel activity. Their potassium content (necessary for powerful muscular contractions) makes them the premier fruit for anyone who wishes to improve their athletic performance.

Serving Suggestions:

Five to ten TURBANA bananas per day, more if desired.

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Dr. Graham, author of "The High Energy Diet Recipe Guide" and "Grain Damage", has been writing and speaking on health/fitness/nutrition since 1980.

A portion of profits and products are donated to support non-profit organizations supporting arthritis research, diabetic research, Lou Gehrig's disease and Epilepsy research.