It turns out their anti-inflammatory properties are a win for athletes.

Arielle Weg
April 05, 2018

Say you've spent few hours running around under the hot sun during a soccer game, or put in a hard session at the gym, and now you're thirsty. There's a good chance your go-to drink isn't water, but a high-calorie, brightly-colored sports drink packed with electrolytes and sugar. But is it the best thing for you?

Sure, sugar is one of the more digestible and portable form of carbohydrates—the simple fuel your muscles and body need to speed recovery during and after a heavy workout.

But a downside to sports drinks is they primarily provide added sugar, which is the least nutritionally valuable. Plus, they’re usually packed with a lot of chemicals and flavorings that your body just doesn’t need.

One of the best alternatives is eating a banana. Bananas provide plenty of carbohydrates and can keep athletes going as well as sports drinks, while providing fiber, vitamins, and other things typically missing from processed sugar.

If you think you’ve heard this before — that’s because you may have. A 2012 study compared how bananas and sports drinks to plain water, and found that they were both more beneficial.

But a new study published in PLOS and covered by The New York Times, had a new surprising result. That study found that bananas actually were superior to sports drinks at helping athletes fight post-workout inflammation.

There is a downside, however: Eating bananas occasionally results in bloating. Ah, well, nothing is perfect.