If you’re a “weekend warrior” looking to feel and recover after breaking a serious sweat during a big workout, eating more almonds may be the key, according to new research.
A randomized controlled trial found that participants who exercised regularly and ate almonds daily for a month saw significant benefits from including the legume in their diet.
Specifically, volunteers who ate 57 grams of almonds each day had higher levels of a key molecule in their blood after a weekly 90-minute exercise session.
“Volunteers who ate 57 g of almonds daily for one month before a single ‘weekend warrior’ workout had more favorable 12,13-DiHOME in their blood immediately after exercise than control volunteers,” explains study co-author Dr. David C. Nieman, who also directs the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory. “They also reported feeling less fatigue and tension, better leg-back strength and reduced muscle damage after exercise than control volunteers.”
12,13-DiHOME is short for the beneficial oxidized fat 12,13-dihydroxy-9Z-octadenoic acid, which has benefits for metabolism and energy regulation.
The amounts of the molecule were 69 percent higher in those who ate almonds regularly. The substance is known to help repair routine muscle tissue damage from exercise
However, the trial was relatively small, involving a total of only 38 men and 26 women, all aged between 30 and 65. In addition, not all study participants participated in regular weight training, so there are a number of potential caveats. and limitations of these findings.
The study will be published on Monday i Limits in nutrition.
The research team says that making a habit of munching almonds can not only boost metabolism, but also reduce inflammation and help athletes recover faster.
“We conclude that almonds provide a unique and complex nutrient and polyphenol mix that may support metabolic recovery from stressful levels of exercise,” explained Nieman. “Almonds are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, minerals and fiber. And the brown skin of almonds contains polyphenols that end up in the colon and help control inflammation and oxidative stress.”
No word yet on how much benefit one can get from just gulping down some almond milk instead of whole nuts.