Almond Effect in Exercise

Almonds are packed with fibre and protein which keeps you full for longer. This curbs appetite and prevents over-eating which helps in weight loss. Almonds also contain a good amount of fat which helps you burn calories at a faster rate. Almonds are rich in calcium, vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and folic acid. They are also rich in antioxidant phytochemicals (phenolics, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and phytosterols). These protect your cells from oxidation and reduce age-related diseases.

The phenolic acids in almonds can improve your heart health, lower blood cholesterol levels, and prevent blood clots. The fatty acids in almonds help to reduce your blood pressure, keep you in shape and maintain a healthy weight. Almonds are an excellent source of dietary fibre, iron, zinc and magnesium.

Eating a handful of soaked almonds every morning can significantly increase your energy level, regulate your sugar and lipid levels, keep you satiated for longer and boost metabolism. These nuts are also a good source of phosphorus, potassium and vitamin D.

Almonds have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes, and improve postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations. However, the mechanisms that underlie these effects remain unknown. In this study, we compared the effects of whole almonds to isocaloric cookies in trained endurance athletes using a self-controlled, crossover design. Eight cyclists and two triathletes were randomly assigned to consume either whole almonds or isocaloric cookies during a 10-week period. They completed the same exercise performance tests during each 4-week period, and anthropometric and fasting biochemical parameters were measured at the beginning and end of each treatment phase.

During mastication, the cellular walls of raw and roasted almonds rupture and release lipids to form a paste-like substance. This lipid is then suspended within the continuous lipid phase, and is accessible for absorption by the gastrointestinal tract microbiome (Figure 3). The remainder of the particles are intact clumps of cell walls and the brown testa rich in calcium oxalate crystals, with dimpled surface impressions, and smaller fragments of protein bodies and nuclei, some of which survive digestion and are found in the faecal sample stained with Sudan IV (Figure 11a). Moreover, numerous free lipid drops and coalesced lipid still present in cells can be observed in the faecal matter, with adhering bacteria from the intestinal microbial community.

We show that the soluble proteins of whole almonds, including the proteins that have been absorbed into the faeces and are not metabolised by the host, enhance lipid digestibility and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in humans. This almond effect appears to be mediated by the proteins in the brown testa. We also demonstrate that the adipose-degrading nutrient and fibre content of whole almonds is more effective than that of a control diet in improving glycemic control and decreasing body weight in individuals with prediabetes, even after accounting for changes in energy intake. Almonds are therefore an important addition to the diet of people who want to prevent and treat diabetes, prediabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.