A new study found that people who consumed this healthy food daily for one month “reported feeling less fatigue and tension, better leg-back strength, and decreased muscle damage after exercise.”

Almonds per day may be the best New Year’s resolution for individuals who regularly work out.

According to a randomized controlled trial published in Frontiers in Nutrition, male and female participants who consumed 57g of almonds every day for a month had higher blood levels of the healthy fat 12,13-dihydroxy-9Z-octadecenoic acid (12,13-DiHOME) after a session of vigorous exercise than the control group.

This molecule, called oxylipin (oxidized fat), is made by brown fat tissue from linoleic acid. It has a positive effect on metabolic health and the way energy is used.

The findings of the new study show “that volunteers who consumed 57g of almonds daily for one month before a single ‘weekend warrior’ exercise bout had more beneficial 12,13-DiHOME in their blood immediately after exercising than control volunteers,”  says corresponding author Dr. David C. Nieman. 

In comparison to control volunteers, they also claimed to have less fatigue and stress, improved leg-back strength, and less muscular injury.

Almonds as a four-week dietary supplement

38 men and 26 women between 30 and 65 who didn’t regularly lift weights participated in the clinical trial. About half were put into the almond diet group, and the other half were put into the control group, which ate a cereal bar with the same number of calories every day.

Before and after the supplementation period of four weeks, the researchers collected blood and urine samples.

A 50-meter shuttle run test, a 30-second Wingate anaerobic test, a vertical leap, a bench press, and leg-back strength exercises were all used as performance indicators.

This 90-minute “eccentric workout” was followed by daily blood and urine samples for four days.

The participants completed the “Profile of Mood States” (POMS) questionnaire to score their mental state after each blood draw and rated their delayed onset muscular soreness on a 10-interval scale, which refers to the discomfort and stiffness experienced after unaccustomed or strenuous activity.

It came as no surprise that the exercise session lasting ninety minutes led to an increase in the volunteers’ self-reported feelings of muscle damage and muscle soreness. It also led to an increase in the volunteers’ POMS score, which indicated an increase in the volunteers’ self-reported feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

In addition, the exercise led to momentarily higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood, including IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and MCP-1. These results are compatible with the presence of little muscle injury. However, both the almond and cereal bar groups saw the same cytokine changes.

DiHOME concentrations differ

Importantly, soon after exercise, the plasma from almond group participants had 69% more beneficial 12,13-DiHOME than control group participants.

As a result of increasing fatty acid transport and skeletal muscle absorption, 12,13-DiHOME is known to promote metabolic recovery during exercise.

The opposite was true for another oxylipin called 9,10-Dihydroxy-12-octadecenoic acid (9,10-diHOME), which was found to be 40% higher in the blood of the control group right after exercise than in the blood of the almond group.

Unlike 12,13-diHOME, 9,10-diHOME has been shown to hurt the overall health and the body’s ability to heal after exercise.

Almond polyphenols may help

Nieman and his colleagues came to the conclusion that eating almonds every day changes your metabolism, which reduces inflammation and oxidative stress from exercise and helps your body recover faster.

Nieman concludes: “almonds provide a unique and complex nutrient and polyphenol mixture that may support metabolic recovery from stressful levels of exercise.”

Almonds are rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, minerals, and fiber.

“And the brown skin of almonds contains polyphenols that end up in the large intestine and help control inflammation and oxidative stress.”

Source: 10.3389/fnut.2022.1042719

Image Credit: Getty


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