Nuts are low in calories and packed full of healthy fats that can help lower bad cholesterol. If you are looking for the perfect snack when you are feeling peckish, then look no further than a handful of nuts.
It’s a good idea to steer clear of prepackaged nut mixes, that are often coated in oils and salt.
Buy your nuts raw and toast them in the oven or on the stove top to bring out their full, rich flavor.
Below we list some of the best nuts every runner should be snacking on and the reasons why:
Walnuts are full of Omega-3 fats that can help reduce inflammation by producing natural anti-inflammatory compounds that can help your body recover and heal faster after a strenuous workout. They can also help reduce post-workout muscle soreness.
Unfortunately the body cannot produce Omega-3 by itself so its really important that we obtain this from our diet.
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acide which is a type of omega-3 fat and just one 32g handful contains roughly 91% of your daily recommended allowance of Omega-3 fat.
Almonds are a great post-run recovery snack as they contain calcium, magnesium and potassium which all help to keep your bones strong. Almonds are also a great source of protein which is important to eat after a run as protein rich foods help to rebuild protein that has been broken down during exercise and will help post-run muscle recovery.
Just a single 32g handful of almonds contains 13% of your daily recommended allowance of protein.
Cashew nuts contain high levels of magnesium, with just 100g containing 82.5mg or about 21% of the recommended daily allowance. Magnesium protects the body against high blood pressure, muscle spasms, soreness and fatigue.
Magnesium also plays a role in turning food into energy so it can help you run for longer.
Not only do Cashews contain all this magnesium but they are also low in fat making them great from snacking on.
Pecans were found to be one of the top 15 sources of antioxidants in a 2004 study that ranked the antioxidant capacity of 100 different foods.
Another study showed that pecan antioxidants were shown to prevent LDL from building up in arteries and even lowered total cholesterol levels.
Pecans contain one of the highest levels of phytosterols of all nuts which can help to protect the body against cardiovascular disease.
Brazil nuts are a good natural source of selenium which is used by your body to create crucial antioxidant enzyme compounds called selenoproteins, which research shows work to offset free radical cell damage caused during endurance exercise.
Macadamia nuts are high in thiamine which is a type of B vitamin that helps metabolize carbohydrates into energy.
Pistachios contain the most potassium and vitamin K out of all the nuts. Potassium is important for runners because it plays a role in keeping the body’s muscle tissue in good condition.
Deficiencies in potassium can lead to fatigue, cramping and muscle weakness. 100g of pistachios contains 29% of your recommended daily allowance of this vital mineral.
There is some evidence that vitamin K is needed to help keep bones healthy giving you another reason to enjoy this nut as part of your snacking.
Out of all the nuts, Hazelnuts contain the highest level of folat which is a B vitamin which is known to reduce the risk of birth defects.
Research indicates that vitamin B may also lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and depression.
Hazelnuts contain moderate levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium which have all been shown to help reduce blood pressure.
Although technically a legume rather than a nut as they belong to the same family as beans and peas the majority of us think of these as nuts so they are part of this list.
Peanuts have a low glycemic index meaning they are digested slowly and help maintain a balanced blood-sugar level.
They also contain resveratrol which is a phytochemical and is thought to protect against heart disease.
Chestnuts are low in fat and are an excellent source of manganese, molybdenum, and copper and a good source of magnesium. In addition, they are a good source of vitamin C as well as vitamins B1, B2, and B6 and folic acid.