Almonds & Exercise. Ease The Pain Of New Habits With A Biochem Hack:
Part of everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions usually turn out to be Lose Weight & Get Into Shape.
But as the spectre of that strange space between Christmas & New Year’s Eve still hangs around, let’s get a little weird.
There seem to be a few main problems with New Year’s Resolutions about the basics of health.
Like the one where people refuse to lose weight by counting calories (even though it works), because it’s hard.
The other problem with “New Year’s Health” is that discipline is hard and exercise seems even harder.
But a weird little bit of biochemistry might make it a bit easier…
The Short Answer:
- Making changes is hard, even if it’s for health.
- Resistance to the process is a big roadblock to success.
- But little hacks can help along the way.
- A team from AppState found a nutrition hack that can make things easy for people who are new to exercise.
- In a small study, they found that eating 2oz of almonds/day helped muscle recovery.
- It increased the amount of anti-inflammatory compounds post-exercise by about 70%.
- That practice also reduced the presence of two pro-inflammatory compounds by 40% relative to the control.
- These results held for people as young as 30 and as old as 65.
- Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a big problem for people who don’t exercise regularly.
- It’s one of the parts of weight-bearing exercise that may be most discouraging.
- Perhaps adding almonds to a person’s diet can help them start exercising a little easier than without them.
- Also, if it gets them to take less ibuprofen, that might be a great result as well.
- Nuts of all kinds, but particularly walnuts & almonds are associated with other positive indicators of health as well.
Read on to find out the details…
→ Show/Hide Table Of Contents ←
So even in a small sense, discipline is going to involve some kind of pain.
The mental pain of getting out of your old rut and the effort that takes.
Especially since that track runs very parallel to the one the self-help crowd calls, “Limiting Beliefs“.
You are literally tracing new pathways through your brain like water with a little bit of grit in it eventually wears a channel through solid stone.
And from someone who has gone from doing very little exercise to getting at it 7 days a week, I can tell you, the routine itself is everything.
How many reps you do, what speed/load/cadence, etc. doesn’t matter. That all comes later.
It’s almost exactly like the old quote that says +/-, “80% of Life is just showing up.”
The other part of the process is that even though you cannot out-exercise bad nutrition,
It sure helps a lot to do it anyway.
But that also involves the pain of exertion, the pain of burning in your lungs, the pain of trying to get off of square zero when you’re out-of-shape, and the present and future pain of muscular exertion.
That’s where the recent work by the AppState team comes in.
Because anything that can make the process easier and more doable is certainly welcome, right?
Well, one of the things frequently discussed by gym-rats and trainers other than “Pick things up and put them down.”
And if you’re doing any exercise involving your muscles, especially weight-bearing exercise like lifting,
You are probably going to be thinking about recovery a lot as the post-workout soreness of DOMS sets in and makes you curse your very existence,
Particularly your quads.
So thank God for the recent work done by Dr. David Nieman & friends.
Because they’ve found yet another tiny biochemistry hack that may help you in your new efforts.
And one that is particularly appropriate to more recent trends in supplementation that advise you not to get those things through pills,
But to get them from your -diet- instead.
In a small trial of 64 sedentary subjects with slightly more men than women, between the ages of 30-65, that ran across one month.
Those subjects were then given 90 minute physical activity tasks that involved both cardio and weight-bearing exercise.
They then had evaluations taken for the next four days, including blood & urine draws, psychological mood evals, and self-reports on DOMS [or Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness].
As you might imagine for weekend warriors, the scores for muscle soreness, damage, mood, and “WHY GOD??? WHY!?!!!!” all got worse following the exercise sessions.
But then the lab results came back.
In all the samples, markers for inflammation were all elevated.
However, prior to exercise, one part of the subject group had been given about 2oz/day of almonds for one month.
Unlike all the other exercisers, their blood showed weirdly-elevated levels of two anti-inflammatory compounds that were almost 70% higher than in the non-almond consumers.
Then still weirder, two other toxic biochemicals of the same family were 40% higher in the blood of the non-almond group, but flat for the nuttier exercisers.
Both of these groups are known to affect post-exercise muscle-recovery in the positive and negative ways you might expect from their associations.
So we know that we’ve sung the praises of eating a handful of mixed-nuts before.
We even put out a chart of the healthiest-possible choices, with Walnuts being the king and even slightly better than the mighty almond.
But this study shows with real, measurable results, that eating nuts or almonds every day isn’t just some hand-wavy crunchy-granola pyramid-power hokum.
They, and also their skins where almonds are concerned, have actual real effects on levels of actual inflammation compounds in the blood.
Just think what other good effects they might be having on a day-to-day basis even if you don’t consider exercise-recovery.
Whether it’s the 8 different types of Vitamin E that Dr. Neal Barnard discusses,
Or the plethora of Micronutrients Nutrition Godzilla Joel Fuhrman keeps banging on about.
Nuts like almonds & walnuts have been shown to be associated with reduced-rates of:
1) Heart Attack
2) All other Cardiovascular Disease like Atherosclerosis
5) Respiratory Diseases
7) Infectious Diseases
They’ve also been associated with improvements in
1) IQ of children whose mothers ate nuts during pregnancy
2) Gut microbes
So while you’re out there doing your best to get a new Strategic, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic, and Time-Bound routine started in the new year,
You could actually do a lot worse than adding some mixed-nuts to your diet to help with all that muscle-recovery you’ll be doing.
Who knows, if the DOMS isn’t too bad, maybe a handful of almonds every day can help you avoid a handful of Advil every day.
Whatever your efforts are in the New Year, HealthTrekker wishes you the absolute best.
And please raise your odds of success by trying to just make it about the simple, doable, achievable routine first, and worry about things like results and fanciness much later on.