Bananas are just as effective as sugary sports drinks when it comes to post-run recovery, new study claims

bananas postrun recovery

Bananas may be a better choice than sports drinks for post-run recovery, suggests a new study published in PLOS One

Researchers compared the effects of bananas and sports drinks, and found that fruit provided equal or greater anti-inflammatory benefits.

For the study, 20 male and female cyclists who regularly competed in road races, aged between 22-50 years, competed several 47-mile bike rides. During one ride, they drank water. For the others, they were given water and 230ml of sports drink or half a banana every 30 minutes.

Riders who took in only water had relatively high levels of inflammation in their blood; this level was far lower if the cyclists had fruit or the sports drink. Interestingly though, the riders who ate bananas also produced less of a genetic precursor of the enzyme COX-2, which intensifies inflammation.

David Nieman, the author of the study and director of Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab explained that the metabolites in the banana help “knock down” the COX-2 gene that promote inflammation after exercise. “This COX-2 gene is the same  gene that aspirin and ibuprofen work on”, although pain killers are not recommended to athletes as a way to deal with post-exercise soreness.

Nieman also found in his study that bananas can also help your muscles recover quicker after running. “There’s no question that sports drinks work, but when you look at bananas, the sugar profile is almost the same. But bananas also have other nutrients – vitamin C and [vitamin] B6 and fibre and these unique metabolites – that you don’t get with a sports drink.”

There you have it, another reason to love this yellow superfood.

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