No matter who your favorite professional athlete is, he or she no doubt follows a very intentional diet that impacts their training, performance and recovery. Tom Brady may be the most vocal about what his menu looks like (no peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, hmm) but you can trust that all athletes are very aware and thoughtful about what foods they use to fuel their bodies.
The truth is, you don’t need to be a professional athlete (or have millions in the bank) to have access to foods that enhance your performance. It takes education, self discipline and a willingness to be conscious of what you eat. Athletes eat seafood, and we’re going to cover exactly why.
Muscle Recovery + Joint Health
While a challenging workout is beneficial to your body and mind in so many ways, it can also take a toll on your muscles and cause inflammation and soreness.
But omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and fish that live in cold water such as salmon, cobia, mackerel, and rainbow trout, provide protective benefits for the tissues and work to fight inflammation, therefore reducing muscle soreness.
Many prominent health organizations recommend eating a variety of seafood at least twice a week, consuming about 250-500 milligrams of omega-3s per day. And guess what, this is incredibly easy to accomplish because one 6-ounce piece of Fish Fixe Cobia provides 2,772 mg of omega 3s.
As we age it is increasingly important to take care of our joints. Omega-3s help to ease joint stiffness and combat chemicals that wear down cartilage. Research finds that people whose diet includes fish high in omega-3s are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. And those who already have the disease, consuming omega-3s may help reduce joint swelling and pain.
Seafood is an excellent source of lean protein. And lean protein sustains energy levels without weighing athletes down. The International Society of Sports Nutrition lists fish as one of the best sources of high-quality protein for athletes because not only does it provide a knock-out amount of fuel, but also aids in building and repairing muscles.
Athletes who spend day after day training and pushing their bodies past their limits cause muscle fibers to stretch and contract repeatedly. All this pulling and pushing causes tiny tears and this is why athletes are sore after intense workouts. The key to healing the tears in the muscle are rest days and protein. Protein is an integral component of the healing process.
Once again we’re back to Omega-3s EPA and DHA because you know what these fatty acids are the real heros of this story. They are beneficial for circulation and heart rate, and studies have shown that consuming Omega-3s at least 2x a week reduces your chance of heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been reported to:
- Decrease triglycerides (type of fat (lipid) found in your blood)
- Lower blood pressure slightly
- Reduce blood clotting
- Decrease the risk of strokes and heart failure
- Reduce irregular heartbeats
While we can get part of our daily source of vitamin D from the sun, seafood is one of the few foods that naturally contain the vitamin. Vitamin D is important in bone health, but recent research also shows its essential role in extraskeletal functions, including skeletal muscle growth, immune and cardiopulmonary functions. Seafood rich in vitamin D include trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
One 6-ounce piece of Fish Fixe salmon puts you well over the recommended daily dose of vitamin D. Combine that with a walk in the morning sun and you’ve reached the suggested amount.
So when it comes down to the final shot, the extra boost in endurance or even a faster recovery timeline, turn to seafood. Want to explore our catalog of recipes, visit Fish Fixe Kitchen.