If you’re a “weekend warrior” looking to feel better and recover after breaking a profuse sweat during a big workout, new research suggests eating more almonds might be key.
A randomized controlled study found that participants who exercised regularly and ate almonds daily for a month saw significant benefits from including the legumes in their diet.
Specifically, volunteers who ate 57 grams of almonds every day had higher levels of a key molecule in their blood after a weekly 90-minute workout.
“Volunteers who consumed 57g of almonds daily for a month prior to a single ‘Weekend Warrior’ scrimmage had more beneficial 12,13-DiHOME in their blood immediately after the workout than control volunteers,” explains study co-author , dr David C. Nieman, who also directs Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Laboratory. “They also reported feeling less post-exercise fatigue and tension, better leg and back strength, and less muscle damage than the control group volunteers.”
12,13-DiHOME is an acronym for the beneficial, oxidized fat 12,13-dihydroxy-9Z-octadecenoic acid, which has metabolic and energy regulation benefits.
Amounts of the molecule were 69 percent higher in those who regularly ate almonds. The substance is known to help repair routine muscle tissue damage caused by exercise
However, the study was relatively small, including a total of only 38 men and 26 women between the ages of 30 and 65. In addition, all study participants did not participate in regular strength training, so there are a number of possible caveats and limitations to these findings.
The study will be published on Monday in limits in nutrition.
The research team say almond munching can become a habit not only to boost metabolism but also to reduce inflammation and help athletes recover faster.
“We conclude that almonds offer a unique and complex blend of nutrients and polyphenols that may aid in metabolic recovery from stressful exertion,” Nieman explained. “Almonds are high in protein, healthy types of fats, vitamin E, minerals, and fiber. And the brown shell of almonds contains polyphenols that end up in the colon and help control inflammation and oxidative stress.”
No word on how much benefit can be gained from simply swallowing some almond milk instead of whole nuts.