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Eat to Win: Why you should be eating more bananas
Packing this superfruit in your racquet bag is a great start to playing better tennis.
Published Feb 03, 2022
It's not a surprise to see Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer snacking on a banana during the changeover, especially when temperatures are blazing and the sun is beaming down on the court. These two Big Three members aren't the only ones selecting the banana as their food of choice during and after matches. There's multiple reasons why, other than the standard 'it's good for you.'
On this week's edition of Eat to Win we take a closer look at why this superfruit is the ideal choice during a grueling match and why every tennis player should incorporate it into their routine. Below are the three main reasons you should be eating more bananas.
1. Potassium is good for us?
Nutrition plays a vital role in how well an athlete performs on any given day and often times it will show on the court. We've all heard bananas are good for us because they contain potassium, but it's much more than that. In a world full of high-tech labs and major sponsorship deals surrounding the sport, many players stay humble by picking the banana for their mid-match snack and it's for good reason.
Potassium is a naturally reoccurring element that helps reduce cramps and muscular injuries by restoring our electrolyte balances during and after battle. Therefore, if a player is competing during the Melbourne summer swing or on a hot day in Los Angeles, having a couple of these in your bag is always a good decision. Another bonus is potassium significantly reduces strokes and heart attacks, which is just another reason this fruit is the perfect choice for a player on a scorching hot day.
2. Energy, Energy, Energy
Every 100 grams of a banana provides around 90 kilocalories of energy and it's also packed with about 75 grams of water. With these kind of numbers, it's guaranteed that players will get a boost of energy without compromising on hydration. It's the best of both worlds. Researchers say that having two bananas supplies enough energy for a tough 90-minute workout, which is great news for players since most matches extend past an hour.
Bananas are also high in carbohydrates and fiber and allows the body to quickly absorb the nutrients while the fiber aids in digestion and relieves heartburn. This instantly gives the fruit a massive edge over gels, energy fluids and majority of the time it can be more efficient than a sports drink for restoring energy.
On the court everything happens fast and players are forced to keep up. That's why the 90-second changeover is crucial for conserving energy and restoring it as easy as possible. From a functional standpoint bananas are a clear win since they are easy to pick up, and snack on without wasting too much time. The banana is so efficient, it allows players to take a bite or two and close it back, saving the rest for the next changeover.
They also require no preparation and are cheap compared to other options such as bars, gels and energy drinks that definitely do more damage to pockets. In a lengthy back-and-forth battle, the last thing players want is their bodies stopping them from crossing the finish line and that's where good nutritional decisions are reflected.
Making smart choices when it comes to food is the best way to improve any player's game and by throwing this fruit in the mix is a great start to playing better tennis.