The one food to fuel your workout… now, this may seem a bit rash since variety is needed for a healthy, well-balanced diet — but, this one food can be relied on consistently as a source of energy for any type of workout. Cue the drum roll, and champion the banana as the one food to always fuel your workout.

Why bananas?

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To perform any workout successfully, the human body needs fuel in the form of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide the body with the most efficient energy to get moving. Fat is the next best source for energy. However, don’t think you have to necessarily load up on protein before you tie your sneakers on and hit the gym. Protein is the least effective source of energy to perform the workout, but the most important component in recovery (so save the protein shake for later).

Now, back to carbohydrates. A single banana has over a whopping 26 grams of carbs making it one high energy fruit. Not to mention, for only 105 calories in a medium-sized banana, there’s 10 percent of the daily recommendation for fiber, almost 15 percent of the daily recommendation for potassium, 17 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin C, and a whole 22 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin B6. B6 is especially important for a powerful workout; this vitamin helps carry oxygen throughout the body to support top performance.

Also, the banana is such a great choice because it can be used as immediate fuel. You can eat one a half an hour or even 15 minutes before a workout since bananas are easy on the stomach and digest smoothly. An ideal time to eat before working out is an hour beforehand, but it’s reassuring to know that when it comes to crunch time, bananas should not inhibit exercise performance. In fact, when doing a longer workout, it’s great to have a banana on hand for quick energy. When it comes time to start fueling, feel free to eat the banana as is, sliced on top of granola, mixed into fruit salads, blended into smoothies, or mashed and spread on nut butter sandwiches. Also, ripe bananas are great for baking, serving as a replacement for eggs, fat, and sugar.

Check out some of One Green Planet’s fuel-efficient banana recipes (or recipes great with bananas):

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1. World’s Healthiest Single Serving Banana Bread

Single-Serve-Vegan-Banana-Bread

2. Raw Vegan Banana Hemp Seed Sushi Slices

Banana-Sushi

3. Banana Peanut Butter Breakfast Muffins

4. Breakfast Parfait with Oats and Blueberry Pudding

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5. Smoothies

Bananas lend an irresistible creaminess to smoothies that can’t be beat by other fruits. If you find yourself with an abundance of overripe bananas, throw some in the freezer — frozen bananas serve as the perfect smoothie base. Try out these delicious recipes before your next workout: a refreshing banana, chia, lucuma, and coconut smoothie and the classic banana, strawberry, kale smoothie.

Want to learn more about the fitness wonders of the banana? Check out this article describing a study where bananas outperformed sports drinks in endurance exercise!

Lead image Source: US Navy

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