You know the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? in my home growing up in Venezuela, the saying was a little bit different "one banana a day keeps the doctor away", as apples weren't readily available. And if you grew them in the backyard like my parents did, even better!
Banana, is one of my most favorite fruits to consume before hitting the slopes with my boys, for a bike run or any outdoors activity that requires energy, as it provides a carb-load, low in fiber necessary to keep me going all day long.
Bananas are the perfect healthy food for runners and non-runners alike. They are easy to eat, transport, taste great alone or with other fruits, offer plenty of quick carbs and contain 75% of water, so not only they fuel your body, they also keep you hydrated.
Bananas have more carbohydrates than any other fruit, about 28 grams per banana. These carbs allow the steady release of glucose into the bloodstream which preserves the glycogen in the liver and muscle for later in the race, bike run or any sport activity where energy is needed. Eating a banana in the mid of a race is also a good strategy to avoid "bonking" in the final miles of a marathon. Have one banana in the afternoon instead of those dubious energy drinks and you will get a natural and nutritious energy boost that will keep you going without the crash.
Bananas have plenty of magnesium and potassium, two important electrolytes that are lost with sweat, which play a role in late-race cramping. The calcium and protein in bananas build strong bones and repair muscle damage. Bananas are also rich in antioxidants and vitamins B, A, C and E -the last three counterbalance the damage of free radicals. Great fruit for the skin!
Milk on the other hand is a good source of proteins, and a great recovery drink after running or biking but not so good for before any sport activity as it contains high amounts of lactic acid and might make your muscles burn and ache, but definitely great for the skin too!
The recipe for the milkshake so you can enjoy a fulfilling and nutritional breakfast before starting your day, is very simple.
Ingredients for one person
1 glass of cold milk
organic sugar or honey to taste
The banana should be ripen. Peel and cut the banana and place it in a blender, add the milk and sugar, put the lid and turn the blender on high. Let it blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Enjoy!
*This milkshake shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator as the banana will oxidize loosing its powerful nutrients.
For the banana facial mask you will need
1-2 spoons of cold milk or plain yogurt
1 spoon of organic sugar if you want an exfoliating facial mask, honey for just a facial, or both for that extra umph!
Peel and cut the banana in slices. With a fork mash the banana until you get a pure. Make sure there are no large pieces of banana. You can also use a stick blender to speed up the process. Add the sugar/honey and milk or yogurt a little at a time, and mix. You are going for a soft, not runny mix. If using the sugar only or the sugar and honey together, get a little of the mask on your fingers and gently massage in circular motion to scrub or exfoliate your skin for no more than a couple minutes. Apply the rest of the mask all over your face and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. If using only honey, simply apply all the mask on your face and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. After the time is up, rinse with fresh water. Apply toner and moisturizer or just let your skin breath.
Whether you have the milkshake in the morning as a nutritious breakfast or apply the facial mask, these two recipes will sure improve your skin condition!