The remarkable thing about this picture is the guy on the left. He is 81 years old and we have just completed a one hour off road bike ride to Casa Velha in Portugal. After a spot of light lunch we then ride one hour back to our starting point. The temperature that day was not too hot at 25 centigrade which would not trouble Roy too much as the longest ride he and his wife Hazel take is 1.5 hours out with the same time to return from Fuseta.
So what is Roy’s secret you may ask. I have probed his lifestyle a little and two things stand out for me. The first is that his body weight has not varied by more than 7lbs since his twenties and the second is that although his diet is pretty good he has, in addition, been a lifelong nibbler of raw nuts.
Research is showing that nut consumers do have much better life outcomes than those that don’t consume nuts.
One large-scale, 30-year long Harvard study found that people who ate a small handful (approximately one ounce or 28 grams) of nuts seven times per week or more were 20 percent less likely to die for any reason, compared to those who avoided nuts.
Those who eat nuts on a regular basis also tend to have lower systolic blood pressure and are less likely to have risk factors for metabolic syndrome, such as low HDL cholesterol, abdominal obesity, and high fasting glucose.2
It’s not surprising then that nut consumption has been linked to cardiovascular health and a lower risk for diabetes. One possible explanation for this is that nuts, especially Almonds and Walnuts are a good source of L-Arganine an amino acid that promotes the production of Nitric Oxide which in turn is responsible for keeping arteries flexible. Nuts also have good Magnesium content. Dr Steven Masley tracked his patients and found that the two most powerful inputs to regressing plaque were fiber and magnesium. You can watch his interview with Dr Dean Ornish here
Nuts also were shown to lower weight when two groups consumed the same amount of calories but one group made up some of their calories with nuts. At first this seems rather puzzling as the calorie intake was the same but we now know that the composition of nuts means they do not give up their calories in the human digestive system to the full extent, in fact only about 40% of the fat is released. This means they satisfy your appetite but calorie for calorie they do not increase your weight as much as other nibbles.
The good news therefore is if you are a between meal nibbler like me or like to crunch on something whilst watching a film then yes give up the crisps, cakes and bread but do not give up the nibbling, simply replace with almonds, cashew nuts and Brazil nuts. Cannot guarantee that it will improve your cycling however.
Further studies here highlighting the protective effects of Magnesium intake