Eating five nuts a day could enhance ‘fat-burning’ effects of exercise

Dr Amir says eating almonds can help boost your memory

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Eating a calorie-deficit diet is among the most popular approaches to weight loss, but certain dietary additions can also prove helpful. Some nuts, for instance, benefit metabolism due to their complex nutritional profile. A new study has suggested that eating as little as five almonds a day could assist in weight loss by promoting healthy fats in the blood.

According to the latest finding by scientists at the Appalachian State University in Kannapolis, snacking on almonds every day could enhance the fat-burning effects of exercise.

The study showed that participants who ate just 57 grams of the nut had more beneficial fat in their blood after a workout.

Published in Frontiers in Nutrition, the research suggests that eating almonds every day alters metabolism and eases inflammation and stress.

The molecule thought to be responsible for these effects is 12,13-HOME, which positively affects metabolism.

Results showed that the nut-eating group had 69 percent more of the molecule compared to the control group.

Doctor David Nieman, professor and director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory and the North Carolina Research Campus, authored the study.

He said: “Here we show that volunteers who consumed 57 grams 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.”

For the trial, a group of 38 men and 26 women were included, none of whom did regular weight training.

Half were instructed to eat almonds while the others were instructed to eat a calorie-matched cereal bar.

They were then required to do 30 seconds of anaerobic exercise, where they had to cycle at full capacity for 30 seconds, followed by a 50-metre run test, a vertical jump, bench press and leg-back strength exercise.

Blood samples were collected from the participants both before and after the 90-minute sessions and for the four following days.

The volunteers were also asked to rank how sore they felt on a scale of one to 10 and answer questions to assess their mental state.

Subjects who ate almonds had 40 percent lower levels of the mildly toxic fat 9,10-di-HOME in their blood, compared to the control group.

“They also reported feeling less fatigue and tension, better leg-back strength and decrease muscle damage after exercising than control volunteers,” explained doctor Nieman.

He added: “We conclude that almonds provide a unique and complex nutrient and polyphenol mixture that may support metabolic recovery from stressful levels of exercise.

“Almonds have high amounts of protein, healthy types of fat, vitamin E, minerals and fibre. And the brown skin of almonds contains polyphenols that end up in the large intestine and help control inflammation and oxidative stress.”

Almonds are packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients and antioxidants, meaning they can lower inflammation and oxidative stress.

Though the study focussed solely on the effects of almonds, other types of nuts contain similar amounts of polyphenols.

Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said: “These findings are very interesting and supportive of the anti-inflammatory benefits that almonds can provide.

“All nuts have slightly different nutritional profiles.

“We know that almonds are high in mono-unsaturated fat and polyphenols which are likely the cause for the positive outcomes.

“If you want to maximise the benefits, I would suggest eating almonds or walnuts instead of other nuts.”

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