Updated: Sep 28, 2021
TL;DR: Not only are bananas great for health, but they can also enhance exercise performance, improve recovery and help build muscle.
Almost all of you would have had a banana at some point. But did you know they can help you build muscle and improve muscle recovery?
I'll explain how bananas help to build muscle in this article and if you should have a banana pre and post workout.
Table of Contents:
Benefits of Bananas
Bananas have many benefits for muscle recovery and muscle building, such as those listed below.
A breakdown of each benefit is listed below.
Helps your body use protein better
Following a workout, it is generally suggested that you consume carbohydrate-rich meals, such as bananas, along with a source of protein, in order to assist your muscles recover more quickly.
Basically, the theory is that carbohydrates aid your muscles capacity to absorb and use protein, thus boosting the production of muscle and decreasing its breakdown. (1)
Recent research, on the other hand, indicates that this combination may not be required in the vast majority of instances.
Nonetheless, it is likely beneficial for most people, more research is needed to conclude anything though.
You can read more about protein intake here.
Helps replenish muscle glycogen
Eating carbohydrates after exercising stimulates the production of the hormone insulin.
Insulin aids in the transportation of sugar from your bloodstream into your muscle cells, where it is stored in the form of glycogen. (2)
It also aids in the development of more insulin-sensitive muscle cells, which makes it simpler for them to replace their glycogen reserves after exercise. (2)
The majority of individuals may completely replace their muscle glycogen reserves before their next activity by just eating a carbohydrate-rich diet, regardless of how soon they consume carbohydrate-rich meals after exercise.
Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bananas, should be consumed as soon as possible after exercise. (3)
When you do this, you will be able to start your next session with completely or almost totally restored glycogen reserves, as opposed to when you do not do so. (3)
Helps reduce inflammation
Bananas, in addition to being high in carbohydrates, also contain significant quantities of useful chemicals such as dopamine and polyphenols (such as the polyphenol quercetin and catechin), among others.
The combination of carbohydrates and several other substances may be beneficial in preventing excessive inflammation after exercise.
This reduction in inflammation is believed to have the potential to facilitate faster muscle recovery after a strenuous bout of exercise. (4)
Improves heart health
Heart disease is the leading cause of early mortality.
Approximately 400mg of potassium is found in one medium-sized banana. Potassium is a mineral that is beneficial to heart health and helps maintain a normal blood pressure level.
Consuming around 1.3 grams of potassium daily is associated with around a 25% reduced risk of heart disease.
In addition, bananas contain various antioxidants which have been linked to a substantial reduction in the risk of heart disease.
Overall, bananas are a great food to help prevent heart disease.
What Do Bananas Contain?
The following is the nutritional information for one medium-sized banana (around 100 grams).
Protein: 1.1 grams
Carbohydrates: 22.8 grams
Sugar: 12.2 grams
Fibre: 2.6 grams
Fat: 0.3 grams
Water constitutes 75% of a banana.
Bananas are a good source of carbohydrates, which are found mostly in the form of starch in unripe bananas and sugars in ripe bananas.
Below is a list of the vitamins and minerals contained in bananas.
In terms of potassium, bananas are an excellent supply. Depending on the size of the banana, it may supply up to 33% of the recommended daily intake for this nutrient.
Bananas are also a rich source of vitamin C.
Other plant compounds found within bananas are as follows.
Despite the fact that dopamine from bananas is an essential neurotransmitter in your brain, when taken or consumed, it does not pass the blood-brain-barrier to influence your mood.
When dopamine is consumed within a bananas it has an antioxidant effect.
Quercetin is another polyphenol found inside of bananas, it is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound with a multitude of benefits.
Bananas contain a number of antioxidants, another one being catechin.
Many health advantages have been associated with catechins, including a lower risk of heart disease.
Do Bananas Help Build Muscle?
Bananas are a great source of carbohydrates and plant chemicals. The most notable plant chemicals are catechins and quercetin.
Carbohydrates are great for replenishing muscle glycogen stores and increasing the energy available, helping you to recover from your workouts.
Consuming carbohydrates after a workout helps your body to utilise protein more effectively.
The plant chemicals quercetin and catechin can help reduce inflammation and improve post-workout recovery.
Quercetin has specifically been proven to improve endurance exercise performance.
This enhanced recovery, exercise performance and protein utilisation allows you to train harder and increase muscle growth.
Pre & Post-Workout
Bananas are a quick and rich source of carbohydrates and sugar. Sugar and carbohydrates provide a source of energy for your muscles.
Therefore eating a banana before a workout can help fuel your workout, allowing you to train harder.
Having a banana post-workout can improve recovery times and enhance muscle growth.
It can enhance recovery time by replenishing your muscles glycogen stores, reducing inflammation and enhancing the utilisation of protein for building muscle.
Due to the plant chemicals, vitamins and minerals found in a banana, there are multiple benefits of having a banana pre and post workout.
Bananas are great for pre and post-workout snacks. They provide energy for your workout while also helping the body recover from a workout.
But do they really help build muscle?
Yes, they do. They can help build muscle due to their ability to enhance recovery, reduce inflammation and help your body utilise protein more effectively.
Bananas also contain quercetin and catechins, which help to further improve exercise performance and muscle recovery.
Overall, bananas are great for helping you to build muscle, both pre and post workout.
Written by Billy White
Billy White is a qualified Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer. He is an aspiring bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, and health and fitness researcher.
He has multiple years of experience within the fitness, bodybuilding and health space. He is committed to providing the highest-quality information.
This section contains links to research, studies, and sources of information for this article, as well as authors, contributors, etc. All sources, along with the article and facts, are subjected to a series of quality, reliability, and relevance checks.
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This evidence-based analysis of bananas and muscle growth features 4 reference, listed below.
1. Mata F, Valenzuela PL, Gimenez J, Tur C, Ferreria D, Domínguez R, Sanchez-Oliver AJ, Martínez Sanz JM. Carbohydrate Availability and Physical Performance: Physiological Overview and Practical Recommendations. Nutrients. (2019, May 16) ✔
2. Murray B, Rosenbloom C. Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes. Nutr Rev. (2018, Apr 1). ✔
3. Beck KL, Thomson JS, Swift RJ, von Hurst PR. Role of nutrition in performance enhancement and postexercise recovery. Open Access J Sports Med. (2015, Aug 11) ✔
4. Nieman DC, Gillitt ND, Henson DA, Sha W, Shanely RA, Knab AM, Cialdella-Kam L, Jin F. Bananas as an energy source during exercise: a metabolomics approach. PLoS One. (2012) ✔
✔ Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.
The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.