Across western culture and society, red meat is the undisputed macho, bicep-flexing man food – or so a paper in the Journal of Consumer Research claims. The HuffPost’s rundown of ‘14 of the Manliest Foods Ever Known to Man’ is a carnival of death, which involves barbecues, ribs and even edible shot glasses – Ed Gein-ishly made out of beef. Yet, despite the association of animal flesh with male potency, a recent study in the Biology Of Sport journal suggests that the ultimate fuel for your long-term virility is a food our caveman ancestors would have gathered, rather than hunted.
Walnuts are a curious nut. First, they’re imposters – though a staple of your festive nut bowl, these bitter husks are drupe seeds and not botanical nuts at all. Second, they are, perhaps, the least subtle superfood in existence. As if to signal they’re rich in polyphenolic compounds that counter cognitive decline, they resemble the surgically removed brain of a Borrower. And 75g per day of these wrinkled nuts have been found to beneficially affect semen quality and the health of your… well, you get the idea.
Most promisingly, in a six-week trial involving active elderly men, Tunisian scientists demonstrated that just 15g of walnuts per day, while maintaining a moderate training regimen, can help to lower harmful LDL cholesterol and gains-inhibiting cortisol by up to a fifth. That handful will also increase your testosterone levels by as much as 10%, helping to maintain your bone density, muscle mass and sex drive. So, the next time you’re craving some real man food, grab it by the nuts.
A Side Order of Muscle
Three ways to hit your recommended 15g a day, each with added performance benefits.
Blend walnuts, oats, maple syrup, dates and a pinch of salt. Roll into balls and stash in the fridge; it’s a quick way to restock glycogen levels.
Swap pine nuts for walnuts and blitz with garlic, basil, parmesan and oil. Basil has anti-inflammatory properties for a faster gym bounceback.
Blanch the sprouts, then fry pancetta in a pan and brown the walnuts. Add the sprouts; they’re rich in glucosinolates, which pump up muscle gain.
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