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Grab Handfuls! The Athlete's Everyday Snack

It is beneficial for every athlete to have nutrient rich snacks easily accessible at all times. This simple recipe for a power-packed trail mix is often our go-to snack at the office or in the car.

• 1 part regular raisins or golden raisins
• 1 part dried tart cherries
• 1 part raw pumpkin seeds
• 1/2 part raw shelled sunflower seeds
• 1/2 part raw shelled pistachios
• 1/2 part raw almonds
• 1/2 part dark chocolate chips or chunks

The sweetness of the trail mix will depend on the type of cherries (sweetened or unsweetened), as well as the specific chocolate you choose. Also, some prefer salted nuts instead of the raw versions above, so it is good to experiment with these flavors.


Tasty Little Antioxidants: The Nutritional Benefits of Raisins

It is true, the dehydration process depletes grapes of some nutrients, leaving them low in vitamin content. However, raisins do contain antioxidant flavonoids that offer mutliple health benefits. Kaempferol is a flavonoid that may reduce your risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease. Kaempferol acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent, and it may help prevent nerve disorders, diabetes and osteoporosis. Golden raisins have 1.69 milligrams of kaempferol per 100 milligrams of weight, providing 169 times more kaempferol than regular raisins, which contain .001 milligrams of kaempferol per 100 milligrams. Although colorful fruits are often richer in antioxidants because they contain more flavonoids, golden raisins have more of various flavonoids than regular raisins.

Regular raisins are richer in catechins, a powerful antioxidant phytonutrient that may help oxidize fat, and improve cognitive function. Each 100 milligrams of regular seedless raisins contains .42 milligrams of catechins, while golden raisins are not a significant source of that phytonutrient.

Raisins are a source of macronutrients, the nutrients that make up the majority of your diet. Consuming raisins supplies your body with varying amounts of all three macronutrients. A 1-ounce serving contains 0.9 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat and 22.5 grams of carbohydrates. Of those 22.5 grams, approximately 17 come from natural sugar, while 1 gram comes from dietary fiber. Each gives you less than 5 percent of your recommended daily intake for calcium, iron, magnesium and most B vitamins. Each provides 5 to 10 percent of the potassium and phosphorus you need each day.

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