The demands of training for sporting events can be extreme, especially when athletes reach high levels of performance. As a result, athletes need to carefully tailor their meals and snacks to mitigate the damage of intense training as much as possible. In the eyes of many coaches and trainers, adequate sports nutrition is just as important as training hard. After all, without the nutrients to support the changes that training stimulates, training can never display its positive effects.
Almond Macronutrients and Sports Nutrition
Almonds are among the most beneficial snacks to consider adding to any athlete’s diet. Almonds have a macronutrient profile that can be very useful to athletes who are recovering from difficult workouts. A single ounce of almonds contains six grams of muscle-feeding protein and six grams of replenishing carbohydrates. While almonds are a high fat food with 15 grams per one ounce serving, the fats in almonds are primarily of the monounsaturated variety. Numerous studies have showed that consumption of monounsaturated fats decreases inflammation, which is a common byproduct of hard training sessions.
Almond Micronutrients for Athletes
The impressive health benefits of almonds are extended because they offer an incredible variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other important compounds. The antioxidant action of vitamin E is of particular note for athletes, as this can help clean up the free radical damage of training stress. Almond skins contain more than 20 identified flavonoids, which are also powerful antioxidants capable of repairing cellular damage. The natural vitamin E in almonds is enhanced by the flavonoids in almond skin, making it several times more effective as an antioxidant than isolated vitamin E.
Among the important minerals in almonds are manganese and copper, both of which are needed to keep the metabolic processes in the mitochondria running smoothly. Almonds also contain a generous dose of magnesium, an essential mineral and electrolyte. Magnesium is important to athletes as it helps carry the electric impulses needed for muscle contraction. Also of prime importance to nerve signaling is choline, a nutrient found in especially high levels in almonds. Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, which is the main neurotransmitter associated with voluntary control of body movements.
Sports Nutrition and Almonds
Not only do almonds provide the nutrition needed for speedy muscle recovery, they also provide some of the nutrients needed to replenish the nervous system after demanding workouts. Even with their high fat content, almonds are known to improve hearth health, reduce inflammation, and aid in weight loss. Thanks to a unique nutrient profile, almonds are among the most beneficial snacks that athletes can add to their diets.
C.Y. Chen et al. “Flavonoids from almond skins are bioavailable and act synergistically with vitamins C and E to enhance hamster and human LDL resistance to oxidation.” Journal of Nutrition 135, no. 6 (2005).