Almonds and dried fruit help fitness

Study shows fruit and nuts help with aerobic capacity

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SPORTY: Australian research is looking at the capacity for almonds to help elite athletes maintain their form.

SPORTY: Australian research is looking at the capacity for almonds to help elite athletes maintain their form.

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Aussie research is suggesting top athletes should be snacking in almonds & dried fruit.

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ALMONDS and dried fruit could help professional sports people stay at the top of their game. 

A study from the University of South Australia’s Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) is exploring how bioactive components in almonds and some dried fruits may play an important role in maintaining peak fitness in elite athletes.

Led by researcher, Professor Jon Buckley, the researcher is moving into the next phase of a five-week trial designed to examine the benefits of combining almonds, grapes, and cranberries.

“We are running a study in cyclists examining whether bioactive components of foods can improve cycling performance and recovery,” Professor Buckley said. 

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“Almonds are a rich source of arginine and antioxidants, while grapes and cranberries are also rich in antioxidants and nitrates. 

"Studies show dietary nitrates and antioxidants improve endurance exercise performance by improving muscle blood flow and reducing exercise-induced damage to muscle.”

Professor Buckley’s team is now 12 months into the study and is currently looking for SA-based cyclists who would like to be involved in the next research phase, a five-week trial designed to examine the increased benefits of combining almonds, grapes and cranberries.

Cyclists volunteering for the trial will be put through an elite cycle training program designed by the ARENA team, while being provided a daily dose of either mixed raw unsalted almonds, dried grapes and dried cranberries – known as AGC mix – or nut-free muesli bars.  

“There is emerging evidence that the consumption of almonds and grapes may improve exercise performance, but there is a lack of information regarding any benefits of cranberries or the combination of all three foods,” Professor Buckley said.

“We feel like this is a fantastic opportunity for people to be involved in research that has the potential to make a real impact on exercise performance in a simple, natural way, while providing them with information on their cycling fitness through the measurement of parameters such as VO2 max that are often only available to elite level cyclists.” 

In order to be eligible for the study, volunteers need to be a male cyclist or triathlete, 18-50 years old, registered with a club or competing in professional, amateur or recreational races, or performing cycling training two or more times a week.

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