California pistachios for Superior Athletic Performance

It is safe to think that for an athlete (amateur or professional), their nutrition regime and training sessions would be the key in determining how good or how successful they would be at their sport. Nutrition for one definitely has the largest impact, but I’m sure you would be surprised to know that more than the hours they put into their training; it is the time after training or games that matter the most in the lifetime of an athlete. We refer to this period as the “Recovery Period”- this is the period within which the athlete would bear maximum fruits of his/her labour. This is the period in which maximum growth of muscles would happen after a long session at the gym. This is surely the time when they would sleep to rest their body to reap maximum gains in terms of strength, stamina and endurance.

Did you know that California pistachios  are one of the most melatonin-rich foods ever recorded? Keeping in tone with the facts above, recent reviews and findings1 actually highlight the importance of proper sleep for athletes for reduced illness & injury2, and subsequently optimizing recovery and athletic performance3. In a nut shell this means that when pistachios are consumed in the right dose, they can ensure that the athlete gets quality sleep as melatonin is also known as the sleep hormone.

What is interesting to note is that American pistachio have a far superior nutrition profile as compared to the regular Iranian pistachios that are largely being consumed.

One may argue though that nuts are very rich in calories and athletes must watch what they eat. It seems to be a fair argument but we cannot discount the various benefits that come with consuming nuts, especially pistachios. Besides having an extremely high dose of anti-oxidants to help prevent tissue damage, they actually boost metabolism, without the body actually utilizing almost 80% of the calories coming from pistachios. This can be explained by the dietary-compensation theory4. This theory clearly outlines that 70 percent of nut calories are lost through dietary compensation and 10 percent are flushed as fat in your faeces. With 160 calories per 28 gram serving, the pistachios, through a combination of dietary compensation mechanisms, your body’s failure to absorb some of the fat, and increased fat-burning metabolism, will be a lifeline without having any negative impact on the waistline.

To add some other benefits associated with pistachios, do not forget that pistachios deliver one vital mineral/electrolyte to the body- potassium. During intense activity and exercise, it is easily lost through the sweat. Instead of reaching out for those artificial electrolytes and energy drinks, load up with some pistachios to help you replenish those potassium reserves!

Why are nuts, beans and whole grains so healthy to consume? This is because they are all seeds. In the words of one of my favourite authors Dr Michael Greger, and I quote- “If you think about it, all it takes for an acorn to explode into an oak tree is water, air and sunlight. Everything else is contained within the seed, which possesses the entire complex of protective nutrients required to mature into a plant or a tree. In essence, you’re getting the whole plant in a tiny package.”

  1. Fullagar et al., 2015a,b; Nédélec et al., 2015a; Thun et al., 2015
  2. Luke et al., 2011; Milewski et al., 2014
  3. Fullagar et al., 2015b
  4. Mattes RD1, Kris-Etherton PM, Foster GD. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1741S-1745S.