Almonds have high-quality plant-based protein, and healthy fats that are beneficial for muscle growth. Also, almonds contain high amounts of iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, arginine, quercetin, and vitamin E! These compounds help athletes build muscle mass and recover faster from exercise.
Almonds are rich in protein!
First, almonds are good for building muscle mass because there’re an excellent dietary source of protein. 100g of almonds contain 21g of protein. 1oz has 6g of protein.
Almonds have high quality plant-based protein. But, they aren’t a complete protein. They lack of the essential amino acid lysine. We can get lysine eating foods from animal sources, or from plant-based sources such as beans, hemp seeds, chia seeds, buckwheat, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.
Your body needs all 9 essential amino acids to build muscle mass. Therefore, you better eat 1-2oz of mixed almonds, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds a day. You’ll consume an ideal ratio of all 9 essential amino acids!
Moreover, you should avoid roasted almonds. Their protein is less absorbable! On the contrary, soaking almonds overnight makes them more bio-absorbable.
In any case, people who want to lose weight should consume up to 2 handfuls of mixed seeds and nuts a day. Seeds and nuts are pretty high in calories. For instance, just 1oz of almonds has about 160 calories.
Almonds contain healthy fats that build muscle mass!
Furthermore, about 75% of calories of almonds come from fat. Almonds contain mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are good for our health. Above all, they are good for the heart.
Additionally, almonds’ unique fat content may be beneficial for preserving fat-free mass! It seems that dietary fat plays a key role in determining protein turnover!
Almonds are a good dietary source of iron
Certainly, bodybuilders, athletes, and active people should consume almonds, as they’re rich in iron. 100g of almonds have 3.7 mg of iron. Women need 18 mg and men need 8 mg of iron a day, respectively. Iron is the most abundant trace mineral in the body!
Above all, athletes need iron, as it supports muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissue. Moreover, iron is necessary for physical growth, neurological development, cellular functioning, and the synthesis of some hormones. Inadequate intake of iron may delay muscle recovery after exercise, reduce muscle strength, and sport performance, as iron deficiency may reduce the supply of oxygen to muscle cells.[4,5]
Athletes of bodybuilding need high doses of zinc
The recommended daily dose of zinc is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. 100g of almonds have 3.1 mg of zinc.
Actually, zinc is necessary for muscle hypertrophy! Zinc plays a key role in protein synthesis, maintaining protein structure and stability. One in every ten human proteins is a zinc protein! Also, zinc helps muscles recover faster after intense exercise.
Calcium in almonds is necessary for bodybuilders
Almonds are a great plant-based source of calcium. 100g of almonds contain about 270 mg of calcium. We need about 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium a day.
Adequate amounts of calcium are necessary for the proper function of the muscle tissue. Low levels of calcium can lead to muscle cramps, as calcium plays a key role in muscle contraction. Also, inadequate calcium intake may cause muscle fatigue and inhibit muscle recovery after exercise. So, athletes won’t train as hard as they should, affecting muscle growth.
Magnesium in almonds builds muscle mass!
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 310-360 mg for women and 400-420 mg for men. But, even athletes fail to consume the recommended daily doses. Inadequate intake of magnesium can significantly affect sport performance!
100g of almonds have 270 mg of magnesium. Certainly, magnesium is necessary for athletes. It can help them build muscle mass, as it’s vital for the normal function of the muscle tissue, enhances blood flow and provides muscles with energy.
Phosphorus is vital for muscle strength
Adults need 700 mg of phosphorus a day. 100g of almonds contain about 480 mg of phosphorus. Actually, almonds are among the best common dietary sources of phosphorus.
Athletes who work out for muscle growth should eat lots of foods containing phosphorus. Otherwise, they may experience low muscle strength, fatigue, and even bone pain. Furthermore, inadequate phosphorus intake may lead to lower muscle volume, and lower energy levels.[6,7]
Almonds contain high amounts of potassium
Women need 2,600 mg and men need 3,400 mg of potassium a day, respectively. 100g of almonds have 733 mg of potassium! So, almonds are an excellent source of potassium.
Athletes should eat almonds regularly. Above all, potassium is vital for muscle contraction. A diet high in potassium prevents muscle loss and the reduction of muscle strength. Also, potassium protects from metabolic acidosis which leads to the loss of muscle mass.
So, athletes who want to increase their muscle mass better eat lots of fruits and vegetables! They’re foods rich in potassium. Moreover, foods containing potassium help us lose body weight faster!
Almonds build muscle mass!
Moreover, almonds are great for athletes who try to build muscle mass or increase muscle strength, as they contain compounds, such as quercetin and arginine. Quercetin is a flavonoid with powerful antioxidant properties. Arginine is a nonessential amino acid which is vital for muscle growth. See the list of the richest foods in arginine here.
First, quercetin and arginine regulate mitochondrial biogenesis, leading to greater glucose uptake by muscles! Also, they may decrease oxygen consumption, and ammonia liberation, helping athletes exercise harder and for a longer time which is crucial for muscle hypertrophy!
Additionally, almonds are high in vitamin E and other antioxidant compounds. Athletes need to consume foods with antioxidants, in order, to recover faster from an intense workout.
Almonds may increase testosterone levels!
Furthermore, snacking almonds between meals can decrease LDL-cholesterol. But, almonds have no effect on HDL-cholesterol. Actually, cholesterol is necessary for the good function of the body. For instance, cholesterol is needed to make testosterone![10,11]
Testosterone is crucial for muscle growth because it increases muscle protein synthesis. Testosterone is one of the most potent naturally secreted anabolic hormones! In muscle, testosterone stimulates protein synthesis. Athletes who train for muscle hypertrophy should have high testosterone levels. Testosterone is considered the major promoter of muscle growth and muscle strength in response to resistance training.[12,13]
Only about 20% of the cholesterol in our bloodstream comes from food. Our body makes the rest. So, we should eat lots of foods that decrease LDL-cholesterol, but don’t affect HDL-cholesterol. LDL-cholesterol is bad for the heart. It builds up a plaque in the wall of arteries.
Moreover, we can help the body produce more testosterone eating foods with calcium, arginine, zinc, vitamin D etc.
When should I eat almonds to build muscle mass?
The best time of the day to eat almonds is between meals. Consuming almonds as a preload before a meal can reduce body fat mass, visceral fat level, and body fat percentage!
How many almonds should I eat a day to build muscle?
In fact, almonds have a huge satiating effect, helping us consume fewer calories in a day. Up to 2 handfuls of almonds a day won’t make you fat, despite their high calorie content.
On the contrary, 2 handfuls of almonds a day can help athletes build muscle mass, as they influence total body protein, fat-free mass, and skeletal muscle mass.