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Nuts for Physical Health and Fitness: A Review

Hamasaki Clinic, 2-21-4 Nishida, Kagoshima 890-0046, Japan

Nuts are rich in various nutrients. Recent evidence suggests that nut consumption has beneficial effects on blood pressure, lipid profile, obesity, inflammation, and oxidative stress, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have shown that nut consumption improves body composition without causing weight gain, despite total energy intake increases. However, evidence regarding nut consumption and physical fitness is limited. The aim of this mini review is to summarize the evidence regarding effects of nuts on physical health, fitness, and exercise performance. Almond supplementation improves exercise performance, but pistachio supplementation does not. The effect of nuts on exercise performance was controversial. On the other hand, unsaturated fatty acid-enriched nuts had a beneficial effect on skeletal muscle mass and oxygen consumption. A diet enriched with nuts also improved physical fitness, which was enhanced by exercise. Although the characteristics of the study participants and the interventions used in the studies are heterogeneous, nuts have a potential to improve physical fitness. However, further studies are required to reveal the effects of nuts on physical fitness, exercise performance, and endurance capacity.
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