Packed with protein and heart-healthy fats, nuts are a great go-to snack for runners.

Most nuts are not only a great protein source, but also provide a wide range of essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, that help aid your recovery after those tough runs.

But what nuts should you eat?
Some nuts have had a bad reputation for their high-fat content and calorie count, prompting weight-conscious runners to avoid adding them to their shopping lists. While we should avoid certain pre-packed salted nuts, the vast majority of nuts are highly nutritious and provide essential nutrients for the body.

Below are five recommended nuts that every runner should try and include in their diet.

If you’re looking for a great post-run recovery snack, look no further than almonds. Not only do almonds contain calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which help keep your bones strong, they are also a great source of protein.

It is important to eat some protein (as well as carbs) after a run, to help with post-run muscle recovery. One handful of almonds (32g) contains 13% of your daily-recommended allowance of protein.

Almonds also play a role in keeping blood sugar levels down when eaten with food that is high in sugar. One study found that when eaten with bread (a high glucose index food), almonds helped reduce the overall glucose index of the meal.

Pistachios contain more potassium and vitamin K than other nuts. Potassium is a vital mineral for runners because it plays a role in keeping the body’s muscle tissue in condition.

Any deficiencies in potassium can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness and cramping. 100 grams of pistachios contains 29% of your daily-recommended allowance of the vital mineral.

Hazelnuts contain heart-healthy fats, a high amount of vitamin E and B vitamins, essential for energy metabolism. Vitamin B’s found in Hazelnuts may also lower the risk of heart disease.

Hazelnuts also contain low levels of potassium, magnesium and calcium, all which help lower blood pressure.

Omega-3 fats help to reduce inflammation by producing natural anti-inflammatory compounds that help your body heal and recover faster and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. The body, unfortunately, cannot manufacture omega-3s so it is important we obtain them from our diet.

Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fat and just one handful (32g) contains around 91% of your daily-recommended allowance of the essential heart-healthy fat.

Cashew Nuts
Cashew nuts are not only low in fat, but they contain high levels of magnesium. 100 grams of cashew contains 82.5mg of magnesium, around 21% of the daily-recommended allowance. The mineral protects against blood pressure, muscle spasms, soreness and fatigue.

Magnesium also plays a role in turning the food we eat into energy, which should help you to run for longer.