Game, set, banana, match!

To celebrate being one of the closest dietitian’s to the famous SW19 Wimbledon tennis I thought I’d put the spotlight on the ever popular banana – so synonymous with tennis players to fuel them to the final, how does it match up for the rest of us?!

Someone I saw in clinic recently told me her whole office had told her off for eating them because they are apparently ‘fattening’ and this is something I hear a lot so let’s look a little closer shall we…

A banana actually contains no fat and depending on size varies in calories from 60 to 120kcals.

Bananas are a richer source of carbohydrate than some fruit, portion for portion. For example a small bowl blueberries contains 10g, a small apple 15g and a medium banana, 20g. This is probably where people start to mistrust them but the truth is there is an insignificant difference between these amounts for the majority of us once you understand portion sizes of fruit!

It’s a good rule of thumb to choose what will fit into your cupped hand with ease as a portion which is the same as a cup or 80g. In the case of bananas choose small to medium sized. If you like your bananas big, just count that as 2 portions of fruit a day towards your aim of 5 a day!

For those with an active lifestyle they can provide a useful pre-exercise snack and providing almost as much carb as a sports gel, but with a slower release, they can be useful in endurance events such as ironman or a long game of tennis!

Bananas are also a rich source of potassium which works with sodium to regulate fluid balance, blood pressure, muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses.

In my opinion there are many good reasons to eat bananas and unless you have kidney failure I certainly wouldn’t avoid them!

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