Pistachios for Best for Athletic Performance
Small, green colour pistachio nuts are also known as the ‘smiling’ or ‘happy’ nut as the split open shell looks like a smiling face & these bright coloured nuts makes everything look happier. Among Iranian & Turkish varieties, California pistachios are the largest in size. They have a rich, unique and distinctive flavour.
These nuts are not only super tasty but also a powerhouse of nutrients. Among other nuts, pistachios comparatively provide a balance of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, fats, and dietary fibre. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, they are also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and sodium.
Pistachios are also very high in Vitamin B6, providing 18% of the daily requirement.
California pistachios are slightly nutritionally denser compared to other varieties.
So, because of their vast nutritional value, pistachio nuts can be a great snack for athletes & fitness enthusiasts especially in India where Pistachios are an integral part of several Indian recipes.
Nutrition plays an important role when you train hard. The food an athlete takes leaves an impact on strength, training, performance and recovery. So below are few reasons why theses pistachio nuts can help athletes & people involved in physical activities.
- Pistachios are a natural source of antioxidants (lutein, β-carotene and γ-tocopherol) which fight against free radicals helping muscles to recover faster post an intense game or a workout session. So, these nuts make a great recovery snack.
- Majority of Indian athletes especially females are iron deficient. Iron is an important mineral for performance in athletes. Iron is critical to create haemoglobin which transports oxygen & helps in faster recovery.
- Pistachios improve the haemoglobin count and increase oxygen circulation in the body.
- Pistachios can also increase iron absorption as they are high in Copper, which helps in higher iron absorption into the body from food. Iron also assist with the production of new cells & hormones which promote muscle growth & repair.
- These nuts are low in calories but high in proteins compared to other nuts. They even have a better magnitude of essential amino acids. So, pistachios keep you full longer providing a long-lasting source of energy, helping in working out or playing for longer duration if consumed as a pre workout snack.
- Pistachios can aid in weight loss & can make workouts more effective. A 24-week study in overweight individuals showed that those who consumed 20% of calories from pistachios lost 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) more from their waistlines than those who did not eat pistachios. Researchers from the Centre for Human Nutrition, California have also confirmed its weight management properties.
- Pistachios prevent muscle tissue damage as these nuts contain 6g of protein per serving making it an ideal post workout snack when combined with other foods.
- These nuts are a rich source of Potassium, containing 512 mg per 50 g serving which is equivalent to potassium in half of a banana. During intense training, potassium is lost in sweat & this is an important electrolyte required for several processes, including sweat, nerve functioning, glycogen and fluid management, and blood pressure. So, along with proper hydration, pistachio can help in replenishing this important mineral in the body.
- Pistachios are also a rich source of L-arginine which is an amino acid required in building proteins and is also a precursor for nitric oxide that helps in dilating blood vessels improving blood flow. This in turn helps in faster delivery of nutrients to the muscles during workout assisting in recovery & waste product removal. So, these nuts can enhance exercise performance.
Overall, pistachios can be a perfect pre or and a post workout recovery snack. They can be enjoyed in a number of ways like as a salad garnish, snack, pizza topping, desserts & even in baking. These kernels can be used to make nut butter or can be added to smoothie, porridge, morning cereals, granola or shelled pistachios can be consumed straight from the packet.
So, what are you waiting for? Go & grab these delicious & versatile nuts to add some punch to your exercise or training routine.