When I say nuts and seeds, I mean raw, sprouted, or lightly roasted, with no added salt, sugar, or oils. After working out, your body is ready to replenish vitamins and minerals, and nuts and seeds are excellent sources of many nutrients.
For instance, magnesium helps to build proteins, potassium helps to regulate the body’s water levels, and both magnesium and potassium aid muscle building, heart function, boost energy levels, help prevent muscle cramping, and help regulate metabolism.
Nuts high in magnesium include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts. Macadamia nuts and pine nuts are especially high in potassium.
Selenium and vitamin E help the body to fend off damage to cells, helping to combat stress due to heavy exercise. Brazil nuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are all good sources of selenium, with Brazil nuts having the most. Peanuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, and hazelnuts are excellent choices for vitamin E.
Nuts and seeds are also one of the best sources of beneficial fats needed by the heart, brain, joints, and every cell of the body. Walnuts and chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lubricate joints, boost mood, and balance hormones.
Nuts and seeds are cholesterol free and contain fiber that helps to bind toxins and excess fats in the intestinal tract for elimination. Aim for at least 5 grams of fiber with each meal and snack. Healthy fats and fiber keep you full longer so you won’t tend to overeat and undo all the hard work from your workout!
All nuts and seeds contain protein, which helps to build muscle after a workout. Pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse, coming in at 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber in 1/4 cup. They also contain iron and bone-building vitamin K and phosphorous.
Per ounce, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pistachios contain the most protein.
To get a balance of nutrients, mix a variety of nuts and seeds, ready to toss a handful into your mouth after working out. Keep them fresh by storing in the refrigerator.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to limit the amount to one serving twice a day, due to their high calorie content. A serving is one ounce–about 1/4 cup or a handful. If you need extra protein after a workout, have an egg, 1/2-cup unsweetened yogurt, a protein-based smoothie, or 1/2 cup hummus.
Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.