Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle but it’s a no brainer that post exercise nutrition is key to proper recovery. Here are some examples of how certain nutrients in pistachios can aid fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike:
Exercise may lead to muscle damage and sore muscles from oxidative stress and inflammation, resulting in a decline in muscle activity and delayed recovery. While further studies are needed to confirm the results, emerging evidence suggests that antioxidants may help with muscle recovery.1 Pistachios are a natural source of the antioxidants lutein, β-carotene and γ-tocopherol, and laboratory studies suggest that pistachios have a high antioxidant capacity.2
While adequate hydration and balanced carbohydrate intake are important post exercise, research has shown that eating protein is beneficial to preventing muscle tissue damage when consumed after intense exercise.3 The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests refueling with a mix of protein and carbohydrates 15 to 20 minutes after a workout for optimal muscle repair and recovery and to replenish muscle glycogen stores.4 With 6 grams of protein per serving, pistachios make an ideal post exercise snack.
Pistachios offer far more than just calories and protein for active people. They are filled with hard-to-get nutrients like magnesium and vitamin A, and other phytochemicals. Pistachios are also a good source of copper and manganese. In fact, research shows that pistachio eaters tend to have a diet with overall higher nutrient quality.2 In a randomized, crossover controlled feeding study, Kay, et al. (2010) found that people eating pistachios had greater plasma lutein and g-tocopherol levels.5
The body loses potassium with sweat during intense exercise. Potassium is a major electrolyte in the body that can help to regulate nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure. When potassium is lost during exercise it can lead to muscle weakness. Include potassium-containing foods along with water to help replenish this important mineral after exercise.6 Pistachio nuts are a source of potassium, and a one-ounce serving of pistachios actually has as much potassium as half of a large banana.
Sousa M, et al. Int J Food Science Nutr. 2014; 65(2):151-163.
O'Neil CE, et al. Out-of-hand nut consumption is associated with improved nutrient intake and health risk markers in US children and adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Nutr Res. 2012;32:185-194.