Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world and they’re also portable, readily available, and delicious. This dense yellow fruit is filled with essential and healthy nutrients that promote digestion and heart health.
Anyone can include bananas in their diet plan but are they good for bulking? Let’s discuss this in detail.
Banana Nutritional Value
The bulking or muscle-building process requires a combination of micronutrients, calories, and resistance training. Generally, the bulking calorie requirement varies depending upon the intensity of your daily exercise but a 10 to 15 percent surplus is recommended.
So, if your weight is 140 pounds and your height is about 5.5 feet, you’ll need approximately 2800 calories per day if you perform at least three intense workouts a week.
Bananas are nutrient-rich fruit that can help you build strong muscles. There are 0.89 calories and 0.23 grams of carbs in a single gram of banana. This fruit is also loaded with micronutrients including vitamins C and B6, manganese, and potassium that support the bulking process.
The following is the nutritional profile of a medium size (100 grams) banana.
- Calories: 89
- Protein: 1.1 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Fiber: 2.6 grams
- Carbs: 22.8 grams
- Sugar: 12.2 grams
- Water: 75 percent
As you can see, this yellow fruit is no less than a nutritional powerhouse that can help you a great deal with bulking. Most of the bulking benefits of bananas come from their simple sugars and calories.
Other than that, the fruit also offers about 12 grams of prebiotic or indigestible starch that improves your gut flora health. It also improves muscle function and performance, energy utilization, and digestion.
Bananas, Carbs, and Bulking
If you’re bulking, you’d already know the importance of carbs. This yellow fruit allows you to increase your daily intake of carbohydrates. Some people find it difficult to increase their daily intake of carbs. Being an easy-to-consume and palatable food, bananas are an efficient way to consume more carbohydrates.
According to research, people who are bulking should consume 5 to 6 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of their body weight. Carbs allow your body to replenish muscle glycogen.
Eating Bananas as a Pre-Workout Snack
Bananas also make for a great pre-workout meal. The high amount of simple carbs that banana contains provides your body with the necessary energy required to perform intense weight lifting. This fruit is actually as effective as your favorite sports drink for the athletic performance you need while performing intense exercise.
Ideally, you should consume your pre-workout snack or meal about one or two hours before a workout to fill your body with the required energy. The more intense the workout the more muscles you’ll be able to build.
The following are some important characteristics that every pre-workout snack should have.
- Protein to prevent muscle breakdown while performing heavy weight lifting.
- Simple sugars and carbohydrates fuel your body with the required amount of energy for intense weight workouts.
- Complex carbohydrates help your body sustain energy levels throughout the exercise.
A study published in PLOS Journal shows the effectiveness of bananas as a pre-workout snack. It shows that eating bananas as a pre-workout meal is as effective as a traditional sports drink to support athletic performance. On top of that, scientists also suggest that eating this fruit is better than taking a sports drink because it’s a healthier and more sustainable source of carbohydrates.
However, just like any other food, you should eat bananas in moderation. Eating no more than one or two bananas per day is recommended. It also means that you should eat this fruit as an accessory to your main food instead of focusing on it as your primary source of energy.
Related: Do Grits Help with Bulking?
Eating Bananas after a Workout Session
Bananas come with simple sugars that help your body to recover faster after a workout by replenishing glycogen levels. This property makes this fruit an excellent post-workout snack.
The content of the fruit also breaks down into anti-inflammatory compounds that not only reduce the muscle soreness that you experience after an intense workout but also prevent many health problems. It’s one of the best foods that you can eat after a workout for muscle recovery.
Muscle soreness and fatigued muscles are the two major signs of an intense workout. Fatigued muscles are caused by the depleted glycogen levels in your muscles. In simple words, your muscles don’t have enough energy to support the contraction process efficiently. That’s where the high levels of the fruit come into play and provide your muscles with the required glycogen levels.
On the other hand, muscle soreness is the result of inflammation and it’s also known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It happens when your muscle fibers experience a high level of physical tension. According to an NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) study, the contents of the yellow fruit are digested into anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the COX-2 levels.
COX-2 is activated in your muscles due to intense exercise and it has inflammatory effects that banana inhibits.
Bananas Allow You to Sleep Better for Better Muscle Gains
If you don’t already know, good-quality sleeping habits play a critical role in muscle growth. Banana comes with tryptophan, which is a molecule that promotes better quality sleep. The daily recommended amount of tryptophan is 250 to 425 milligrams and eating a single medium-size banana offers about 11 milligrams of this important molecule.
Tryptophan is an amino acid and it operates as a raw material in your body to build muscle and make protein. On top of that, tryptophan also improves your sleep quality according to an NCBI study. These properties help you build more muscles.
Another study shows that on average, people with disturbed sleep have 60 percent less muscle mass than people who sleep at least 8 hours a day.
Benefits of Eating Bananas for Bulking
Manage Sweet Cravings
If you have a sweet tooth, eating a banana will allow you to manage your sweet cravings. This fruit is high in sugar but it also offers other healthy nutrients that help you with bulking.
Accelerate Muscle Recovery Process
You can eat bananas as a pre- and post-workout snack. They provide you with enough energy to perform an intense exercise and restore the glycogen levels in your muscles to accelerate the recovery process.
Improve Mood: Bananas also help you by improving your mood. They’re loaded with vitamin B6, which is responsible for regulating GABA, dopamine, and serotonin levels for better mood management.
Downsides of Eating Bananas for Bulking
Can Trigger Migraines
Superfoods like bananas can cause migraines. This yellow fruit is rich in tyramine and if you are sensitive to this substance, you can develop symptoms of migraine.
Increase Insulin Levels
Bananas are high in sugars, especially the overripe ones. While these sugars are natural, they can still increase insulin levels in your bloodstream. That’s why people who are suffering from diabetes are advised by dietitians and doctors to avoid eating this fruit.
Adding Banana to Your Diet Plan
You can easily incorporate bananas into your diet plan. The easiest way is to peel a banana and eat the fruit as it is while making your way to work or doing anything else. You can also add this fruit to other foods as well.
- Add bananas to your pre or post-workout drink or protein shake and blend the mixture.
- Add the fruit to your oatmeal by slicing.
- If you eat peanut butter sandwiches, replace jelly with bananas.
- Mix them in your yogurt.
- Skip the syrup and add bananas to your whole grain pancake.
- Make a fat-free and low-calorie frozen treat by freezing and blending your bananas.
- Make high-protein and low-carb banana pancakes by blending the fruit with eggs and topping it with cinnamon.
Can Bananas Help Build Muscles?
Bananas are loaded with carbohydrates and provide you with the energy you need to perform intense exercise. They can also restore the glycogen levels in your muscles to accelerate the recovery process. These fruits also contain potassium that promotes muscle contraction. You can eat one or two bananas before you start your workout process.
How Many Bananas Should You Eat a Day for Muscle Gain?
You should not eat more than two bananas per day as they’re high in calories and carbs. Eating more than two units of this fruit means that your calorie intake will exceed the 300 mark. You’ll also be eating daily meals so your calorie count will increase dramatically. So, stick to a couple of bananas to achieve the best results.
Bananas offer carbohydrates and sugars that can certainly help you with muscle growth. They allow your body to utilize protein efficiently to build muscles instead of converting them to energy.
The fruit also comes with vitamins and other essential nutrients that allow your body to sustain energy levels during long workouts. So, they’re great for bulking but it’s important to make sure that you consume this fruit in moderation to enjoy all these benefits.