The Benefits of Bananas for Athletes

Bananas have many health benefits. Would you like to know what other benefits this fruit can provide to athletes? We'll tell you all about it in this article!
The Benefits of Bananas for Athletes
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

There are countless benefits of bananas for athletes. In fact, this is why this fruit is popular among those who exercise daily or practice some kind of sport. This is due to their high nutritional content as they’re a source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

But what exactly makes them so great?

First of all, bananas are highly versatile as you can consume them as they are or add them to your shakes or breakfast cereal. Also, due to its composition, this fruit is ideal for improving the quality of your diet.

Let’s take a closer look.

Bananas are a source of carbohydrates

Sugar is a natural part of this fruit’s composition. Thus, it’s a good energy source for athletes. Depending on their maturity index, these sugars might have a higher or lower glycemic index. Therefore, you can eat a ripe one before a workout, or an even riper one in the middle of your workout.

The carbs this fruit contains allow for the replenishing of glycogen deposits once your exercise has already begun, as explained in an article published by the Nutrients magazine. Recharging muscle glycogen during exercise delays the onset of fatigue, among other things. Also, it could help decrease the risk of muscle injury.

A woman at a table.
Bananas are a versatile food you can eat alone or in shakes. This is because they help replenish your glycogen deposits.

They contain potassium

Athletes need a diet rich in sodium. Not having enough could lead to hyponatremia, and this could be fatal. As you can see, they must continuously replenish their salt levels before, during, and after their workouts. The downside of it is too much of this mineral in your diet could raise your blood pressure.

To moderate this effect, you must increase your potassium supply, according to another study published in the Nutrients magazine.

Bananas are great to do this. You may not be aware of it but this fruit is well-known for its high levels of this mineral. In addition to balancing blood pressure, the potassium present in bananas contributes to preventing an electrolyte imbalance during your exercise routine.

Also, as if all of the above wasn’t enough, this fruit helps reduce the risk of muscle cramps.

The benefits of bananas for athletes before and during exercise

For athletes to obtain the benefits of bananas, they must eat them before and during a break in the middle of their workout.


This is because professionals advise filling your glycogen supply and keep your glucose levels stable before every session. As we mentioned above, eating bananas accomplishes both of these goals.

You must provide your body with a periodic carb supply when you begin your exercise routine, especially if it’s long-lasting. This way, you build a reserve of muscle and liver glycogen to help delay the onset of fatigue. As you can see, bananas are a powerful ally in this type of situation.

Ideally, the fruit you eat before you begin to exercise shouldn’t be too ripe. However, the one you eat in between should be riper. This is because excessive fiber intake at this time could delay gastric emptying and lead to stomach discomfort.

A woman stretching.
If you want to consume a banana before starting his training, it shouldn’t be very ripe.

Bananas are ideal for athletes

In summary, many people like bananas due to their sweet flavor and texture. Thus, their nutritional benefits for athletes are a plus. It’s common to see them consume this fruit before, during, and after events.

Also, the carbs present in bananas help maintain stable blood glucose levels. Similarly, these nutrients also help maintain muscle and liver glycogen reserves. So, eating this fruit during exercise can increase an athlete’s performance.

As we mentioned above, bananas contain a significant amount of potassium in their composition. This mineral ensures the electrolyte balance of an athlete. Also, it allows them to regulate their blood pressure so it doesn’t increase as a consequence of the high sodium intake.

Finally, bananas also have organoleptic qualities and, as we said above, you can consume them in liquid form as a shake and even spread on toast. There are many recipes out there for treats in which this fruit is the main ingredient.

So what are you waiting for? Eat more bananas!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hearris MA., Hammond KM., Fell JM., Morton JP., Regulation of muscle glycogen metabolism during exercise: implications for endurance performance and training adaptations. Nutrients, 2018.
  • Stone MS., Martyn L., Weaver CM., Potassium intake, bioavailability, hypertension and glucose control. Nutrients, 2016.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.