Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly the components called EPA and DHA, are anti-inflammatory nutrients. You may have heard of unsaturated fats, as in the name, PUFA. We might think of fish straight away when we think of omega-3s. Fish oil capsules can be bought as a supplement, but do you need them? Food first! Let’s talk about omega-3s in the diet.
Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, and nuts, are rich in omega-3s. Tuna is not considered an oily fish anymore. Research usually use omega-3 supplements in athletes. These have been shown to promote recovery from muscle damage, biological stress and inflammation you get when you exercise. Some studies have shown omega-3s had no effect, however. Weighing this up, PUFAs appear to help muscle damage recovery.
There is no reason why we cannot get enough omega-3s through our diet. If you have a health condition, allergies, or restrict certain foods for whatever reason you may find it hard and should seek a qualified dietitian. You may be thinking “I don’t like fish or nuts. What do I do!?”. Let’s have a look into almighty omega-3 foods.
Mega Tips for Eating Omegas!
Sources of omega-3 include:
* Salmon, mackerel and sardines
* Walnuts, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds are a good choice.
* Omega-3-enriched foods like Milk and milk alternatives (e.g. hemp, soya products), fish fingers - even eggs!
Yes, many supermarkets even offer omega-3-enriched food and drinks. These will often show it on the packet. Be sure to look out for this on the front and back of the packaging to see more. This means omega-3 has been added to the product. You can find a handy guide on serving sizes below. There are no general recommendations for the population, but for those aged 12 up to adult can have 140g (5oz) fresh fish or 1 small can oily.
Black, K.E., Witard, O.C., Baker, D., Healey, P., Lewis, V., Tavares, F., Christensen, S., Pease, T. and Smith, B., 2018. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to a protein-based supplement during pre-season training results in reduced muscle soreness and the better maintenance of explosive power in professional Rugby Union players. European journal of sport science, pp.1-11. https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/omega3.pdf
Lenn, J., Uhl, T., Mattacola, C., Boissonneault, G., Yates, J., Ibrahim, W., Bruckner, G. (2002). The effects of fish oil and isoflavones on delayed onset muscle soreness. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34(10), 1605–1613. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200210000-00012
Owens, D.J., Twist, C., Cobley, J.N., Howatson, G. and Close, G.L., 2018. Exercise-induced muscle damage: What is it, what causes it and what are the nutritional solutions?. European journal of sport science, pp.1-15.
Sousa, M. (2014). Dietary strategies to recover from exercise-induced muscle damage. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 65(2), 151–163. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2013.849662