Ok, this is not new news but I have found that since I have been eating bananas on a more regular basis, my walking and cycling performance appears to have improved. This manifests not only in better, more sustained energy for activities but also in terms of not getting headaches that I used to suffer after strenuous exercise. Some of this is due to adequate hydration but alot of it is due to regular eating of bananas, especially as a “booster” during walking. I knew in the back of my mind the virtues of bananas and this has been extolled by countless others over the years. Every now and then a new super food comes on the scene but bananas do seem to remain at (ahem) the top of the tree.
So what is it about bananas that makes them so good for me and many others? They contribute Vitamin A in spades, have a high level of soluble fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and potassium. They help to ward off certain cancers and can be considered to be mood enhancing in certain people. They are also low in saturated fat, cholesterol and Sodium. They do have a relatively high level of sugar but this is mitigated by the presence of alot of fibre which moderates and slows its uptake of sugar in the body ie no sugar rush that you would get with, say, a sugar drink.
Apart from the obvious form of whole banana fruit, when walking or cycling I also like to take banana cake. Its less squishy in the rucksack for one! It is also easy to make a large job lot of it and freeze for future consumption. The recipe I use is as below. I like to add walnuts and dried fruit and use as little sugar as possible as well as wholemeal flour. If you cant stomach wholemeal, try 1/2 and 1/2 with white flour.
Banana Bread Recipe
4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar (alter to taste)
1 egg, beaten
50g walnut pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of wholemeal flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Mash the bananas and mix butter into them in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour and then the walnuts and sultanas and mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
As an energy food its really great and a superb (healthier) alternative to chocolate or cereal bars when on the hills.