If you know me, you know that I am a huge fan of nuts (and I am one J). Nuts are a nutritionally balanced health food; versatile, delicious and easy to take anywhere. Nuts are high in protein and healthy fats, meaning they are the perfect combination to give you energy and build muscle mass because they are high in protein. Consuming several servings of nuts daily can give you an extra 30-35 grams of protein, which aids in muscle recovery and growth. Nuts are also a great source of energy for your workouts. Nuts are high in healthy fats and your body will use this as energy during your workouts. If you don’t consume enough healthy fats, your body will use extra protein as an energy source. This is bad because you want your protein intake to fuel your muscle growth, not take away from it. If your protein is being used as an energy source, your muscles will not be fed enough amino acids and protein, detracting from the final product. Consuming several serving of nuts per day ensures this does not happen.
But here’s the thing: all nuts are not created equal. Long ago, I was a processed peanut butter kind of girl. But then I got smart. Do yourself a favor: compare the nutrition facts and the ingredients of processed peanut butter to that of all-natural peanut butter. It’s scary. Even for me, who is NOT a total all-natural food stickler by any stretch. But the all-natural IS better for you and tastes so much better (allow some time to get used to it). I recently had a spoonful of my friend’s crappy processed and was searching and searching for the peanut flavor. It was really like gummy paste with a hint of peanut. It was nasty and so was the amount of junk I was ingested. Two tablespoons of the real stuff gives off 7 grams of protein- BOOM! It also improves health health, potassium levels, energy and fiber.
In addition to peanut butter, here are a few other nice natural nut nutrition niceties: Almonds (choose raw and/or unsalted) are a superfood. They are high in fat but high in the monosaturated type of fat, which is proven to lower your LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Studies also show that in addition to reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease, almonds reduce your risk of diabetes. Almonds are high in protein, keeping you fuller for longer and thus creating a situation where you eat less.
Walnuts have similar health benefits as almonds. Walnuts aid weight management as well; an ounce of walnut contains 2.5g of omega 3 fats, 4g of protein and 2g of fiber that help provide satiety. They are also rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, making them really effective in combating heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also help in combating bad cholesterol. Like almonds, studies also show that walnuts can help prevent diabetes. And pay attention, procreators! Walnuts also boost your sperm quality. Eating 2.5 ounces of walnuts per day improves semen quality in healthy young men, researchers report. According to a study by UCLA researchers, eating 75 grams of walnuts a day improves the vitality, motility, and morphology of sperm in healthy men aged 21 to 35.
My other favorite nut is pistachios. This little nut is big on impact. Pistachios are an excellent source of copper and manganese, and are good sources of thiamin and phosphorus. They’re also a super source of vitamin B6, giving you almost 20% of your RDA. As a good source of fiber, pistachios can help meet the RDA requirements for us, which studies say most Americans are well below. A serving of pistachio nuts provides 3 grams of dietary fiber, or about 12% of the RDA.