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Yes, according to a new study.

Bananas have long been a favorite source of energy for endurance and recreational athletes. Bananas are a rich source of potassium and other nutrients, and are easy for cyclists, runners or hikers to carry.

Research conducted at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) has revealed additional benefits.

“We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling — bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink,” said Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the human performance lab and a member of the College of Health Sciences faculty at Appalachian.

“We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas,” he said.

The bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6, the study showed. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.

I know by running friend, Mary, always carries her banana on a weekly long run. She likes it and says it is easy on her stomach.

Around 100 calories or so, a banana is certainly just as good nutritionally and better tasting than a heavily sugar-laden running gel. But, I don’t know if your digestive system would like to break down the bulk during a very long run, such as a marathon though.

I would think for any run less than 10 miles or so, you should be fine.

I will give it a try and let you know.

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