Whether you’re a recreational athlete, weekend warrior, social player or an ultra-endurance athlete, your body needs adequate fuel to perform at its best!

It’s no secret that eating a balanced diet – made up of a range of nutritious foods, in the right amounts – fuels exercise training and promotes muscle growth and repair.

But are nuts good for sports and fitness? And if you’re exercising, should you eat them before, during and after exercise? Two fact sheets, by Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA), answer all your questions!

Nuts support active people, everyday

Like other fresh, whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, nuts are nutritional powerhouses.

They provide energy, plant-based protein, gut-loving fibre and essential nutrients to help enhance sporting performance and recovery, including:

  • Vitamin E, vitamin B6, niacin, folate, magnesium, zinc, non-haem iron, calcium, copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Phytochemicals and omega-3 fats that act as anti-inflammatories that help:
    • Boost the body’s function, immunity and recovery from exercise
    • Relieve joint pain
    • Promote muscle damage recovery from exercise
    • Protect heart health
    • Boost mood and cognition, helping with skill and decision making.

Nuts make a portable, healthy snack during exercise, and provide an energy-boost when you’re on the go. A serve of nuts is 30g – or around a handful.

Five ways with nuts for active people:

  • Prepare a nut mix for during a hike, bike ride or a day at the beach
  • Snack on a handful of nuts during a weight session, or while doing housework or gardening
  • Keep a container of nuts in your car, bag or drawer for an energy boost before, during or after work
  • Include nuts in after-school ‘top-ups’ for hungry kids to tide them (or you!) over until dinner
  • Choose a handful of nuts instead of relying on large amounts of highly-processed snacks – especially if you (or your very active, growing children) have high energy demands.
Nuts for Life - Power-packed recovery smoothie

Did you know? Nuts typically have the highest plant protein content, at 15-20g per 100g compared with other plant-based food sources, including soybeans (14g), tofu (12g), chickpeas (6g) and oats (2.5g).


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