Nuts (almonds, walnuts, chestnuts, etc) can contribute substantially to a runners’ diet due to their nutritional benefits.
Even though most runners avoid eating nuts due to their high caloric value and fat input, that is one of the main benefits for those who train a lot.
NUTS BENEFITS FOR RUNNERS
As we noted before, nuts contain high values of total fat that go from 45% in cashew nuts and pistachio to 72% in pecans.
Even though many could believe this to be negative, fatty acids in nuts have benefits since they contain a low composition of saturated fatty acids (4-16%).
This means that they provide fats that are beneficial for the functioning of a runner’s body.
Furthermore, nuts provide other bioactive macronutrients that can affect your metabolism and improve cardiovascular health.
Apart from fats, nuts are an excellent source of proteins (some provide 25%) and can therefore help repair damage caused by tough training.
Nuts contain considerable amounts of folic acid, a vitamin B that is necessary for the normal cells functioning and for the growth and regeneration of cells, red and white cells formation.
Nuts (especially almonds) generally contain high amounts of L-arginine, an amino acid that helps blood vessels dilate thus improving blood flow.
Moreover, they are a good source of a dietary fiber, which varies from 4 to 11 g per 100 g. A regular serving provides 5-10% of the daily fiber need.
Nuts are cholesterol free and contain high amounts of vegetable sterols that contribute to the reduction of cholesterol.
Nuts also contain high amounts of minerals that are important for runners, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.
A high intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium, together with a low intake of sodium (nuts provide low amounts), is known to protect the body from bone demineralization, high pressure, resistance to insulin and heart attacks in general.
TWO ADITTIONAL BENEFITS
Finally, we would like to point out that apart from their powerful nutritional contribution, nuts have three additional benefits:
-They are easy to transport; so they can be taken to work and eaten as a snack.
-They are extremely delicious.
-They are extremely satiating and can easily help you satisfy your appetite.
Thanks to all these benefits, nuts can help you complement your diet during periods of hard training.
flickr photo by steffenz http://flickr.com/photos/steffenz/2079743107 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license