One study evaluated the effects of all three foods at the cellular level while practicing physical activity. Which of these three is more recommendable to consume during a workout
Food is one of the essential allies to get more out of physical activity. Proper diet helps increase resistance and develop strength, increasing performance and promoting recovery. Both for the before and after the exercise, as for the during. In this sense, the most chosen options to ingest when training are water, bananas and sports drinks. But is anyone better?
According to a study conducted by scientists from the Appalachian State University in the city of Kannapolis, the United States, fruit, and special drinks are more convenient with respect to water, because they are two foods rich in carbohydrates, They help against muscle wasting and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
The work, published at the end of March in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, is supplemented by another developed by the same experts from the North Carolina Research Campus six years ago. In that one, they had observed that the performance of the cyclists was much better if during the race they consumed a banana or they drank an isotonic drink in comparison with the water intake.
On the other hand, in the previous study, they also noticed that the subjects who followed developed a lower level of subsequent inflammation in the body, and presented less physiological stress.
Those positive results were confirmed with the new analysis, which the specialists carried out in order to continue investigating how carbohydrates influence so that physical exercise is more prolonged and intense. With modern techniques, they now explained that “most fruits, which contain a lot of fructose, also have other natural substances that could have an impact on sports performance and recovery .”
Sugar (glucose, fructose or sucrose) is the best-known source of carbohydrates. This nutrient is present -in high levels- in fruits. Not so with sports drinks, whose nutritional properties are obtained from flavors and chemicals.
The new research involved 20 competition cyclists, between men and women, who had to run 75 kilometers several times in the campus laboratory. Before starting the test and once finished, they did blood tests. They also measured the indicators of metabolites, which indicate how much stress the body suffers.
In the first round, they only hydrated with water, while the other courses drank, in addition to water, 236 milliliters of a sports drink and consumed half a banana every half hour.
The first finding was that by drinking only water, the athletes had high inflammatory levels in the blood. These indicators decreased when taking isotonic drinks or eating fruits, which at the same time also caused the body to present less stress due to the addition of carbohydrates.
Although bananas and beverages worked better than water, there was a difference between the two: the experts observed that the fruit also acts to influence the genetic expression of cells after exercise. “When analyzing the enzyme COX-2, the one in charge of stimulating the production of prostaglandins, we realized that it was lower if we ate a banana,” the study emphasizes.
This modification in the red blood cells of the cyclists when they consumed the fruit meant a greater reduction of the inflammation in the blood, whose symptoms range from fever to the general feeling of illness. In this way, the specialists concluded that bananas provide better results during practice, followed by energy drinks and finally water, the most popular option.
Based on these results, the researchers will evaluate other points yet to be clarified, as if half a banana every half hour is the ideal portion of fruit during exercise. Or why these reduce the swelling: ” It is not yet known how the fruit manages to affect the gene expression of cells after exercise, ” the analysis concludes.