banana dark chocolate healthy snacksMagic Powers of Banana & Dark Chocolate Combination

Someone recently mentioned to me in passing about the potential double energy boost of bananas and dark chocolate as a healthy snack on the go.  I thought to myself “that’s logical.”  I knew that both of them individually gave you an energy boost, so logic would say that the two together would give you a more magnified boost, right?  Like having a double espresso without the hot flush twenty minutes later.

Being the inquisitive type, I tried out the two in combination. Not only did it gave me a short-term energy boost, but I also benefited from sustained energy over an extended period of time, better clarity of thought and a general sense of improved well-being.

Being in the healthy snacks industry for seven years, I thought I had seen it all. But my curiosity now well and truly aroused, so I decided to investigate this.

First up, let’s have a look at each one of the two in a little more detail.

Bananas

Everyone’s favourite yellow fruit (sorry lemons), bananas are definitely up there when it comes to giving your body a shot of the good stuff.  These healthy snacks are full of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, are low in fat and help give your immune system a boost too.  However, and crucially, they are super good at providing sustainable energy.

In fact, you don’t have to have a fresh banana to enjoy banana/dark chocolate healthy snack combination, freeze-dried bananas and other freeze-dried fruit have 97% of nutrients comparing to fresh fruit, so they are as good as fresh fruit.

Check out Medical News for more of an overview on these little yellow super-heroes.

If you just did some clicking, you’ll see how it gives us a telling insight into just how good bananas are at giving us energy, with reference to a 2012 study.

In brief, three groups of athletes were observed performing, with one group given water and a banana as a healthy snack at the fifteen-minute mark, the next group had energy drinks at the same intervals and the third group had nothing at all at any time.

Unsurprisingly, the “nothing-at-all” athletes suffered from the most dramatic decline in energy and performance levels. The other two, team-bananas and team-energy drinks, performed better. However, team-bananas were noted to be better at handling the muscle fatigue of the exercise than team-energy drinks. (The technical term?  “Better at metabolising oxidative stress” – just for the record.)

Energy drinks do give you a (sugary) boost, sure, but it’s a fast up followed by a fast down – so nothing sustainable like a banana. Plus, the muscle fatigue coping mechanism of energy drinks is nowhere to be seen in comparison.

So, when you start your daily exercise routine, take on board a banana as a pre-workout healthy snack, ensuring that you give it twenty minutes or so to be digested. By doing so, it allows for all of the nutrients to be effectively absorbed and for you to get the maximum sustained energy effect.

That’s bananas and some of their benefits in a nutshell.  Time to unleash the chocolate.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate alone should win a medal, whether it is consumed as a treat or a healthy snack on the go. Just for being chocolate. Just sayin’.

Awards aside, if you want an energy hit, grab some dark chocolate, ideally organic and dairy free, which will also make it a great Vegan healthy snack.  That’s because a minimum 70% cocoa dark chocolate “…energises by providing an excellent source of iron and magnesium…”, according to Huffington Post

In general, moderate amounts of dark chocolate, once or twice a week, are good for you.  And on top of giving you that warm fuzzy, feel-good feeling when eaten, it packs any number of natural boosts for your body’s metabolism and energy levels.

All of the following are hiding away in dark chocolate:

  • Caffeine: by far and away the most high-profile natural energy boost, by stimulating the central nervous system, it helps to boost energy and reduce fatigue.
  • Theobromine: coming from the cacao plant (which chocolate comes from), when consumed, it helps to dilate the blood vessels which allows for better athletic cardio-vascular performance.
  • Tryptophan: helps to improve mood and the overall feeling of well-being.
  • Epicatechin: gives help to both muscle recovery and growth.

Further recent studies have shown how, for example, cyclists who took onboard dark chocolate as a healthy snack on the go prior to cycling were able to cover greater distances at a faster pace.

It, therefore, come as no surprise that there is now a realisation in sports performance and scientific circles that one of the ultimate sports performance enhancing drugs is…dark chocolate.

Conclusion

So many of us are now living and working longer and harder than before and trying to get some help from wherever we can. Like-wise those hitting the gym or working out in whatever way are looking for help too.

Bananas and chocolate as healthy snacks on the go sound so almost innocent but don’t be deceived. Individually, they are good; together they are awesome.   They almost seem to magically synthesise their energy proficiency into one super sustainable energy boost.  As is the case so many times, naturally occurring products win hands down when it comes to finding answers in nutrition.  And these are two of the best that nature has to offer.

Don’t believe us?  Try for yourself!

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