If you’ve followed Youth Football Online since our inception in 2010, you probably know our feelings on sports and energy drinks. We hate them. The sugars, excessive sodium, preservatives, artificial coloring all add up to a nutritional nightmare. While the greatest thirst quencher is ultimately water, what can we do to complement water to give us that added boost of energy?
I recently read a research note by Appalachian State University about the benefits of bananas for athletes and how they compare to sports drinks. Now, there truly is no comparison when comparing bananas to sports drinks- one is a naturally power-packed superfood with vitamins and antioxidants and the other is a hyped up, artificially colored sugar water- but the App State study was enlightening.
Here’s what they did-
The study had one set of professional cyclists drink a sports drink, while the other set ate a half of a banana- this was consumed every 15 minutes during a 3 hour bicycle race. Which would give the athletes a better boost? The results confirm what we already thought. The performance levels were similar, however the glaring difference was the vitamin, fiber and potassium boost that came from bananas. The infinitely better choice! “This type of research shows that you can have healthier carbohydrate sources before and after exercise that will support athletic performance just as well as a sports drink,” stated Dr. David C. Nieman, director human performance lab.
Here is why this fruit dominates, bananas contain-
Vitamin B6 nervous system functionality
Potassium combined with proper hydration prevents cramping
Manganese calcium absorption and healthy bones
Magnesium energy production
Vitamin C antioxidant, prevents sickness
Kid football athletes will clearly benefit from eating bananas over sports drinks, and this habit (we hope) will continue on with them as they mature into adults. A banana is a concoction of vitamins, nutrients and fiber. A power food that will help your athletes dominate on and off the football field.