Alisa Turner - Integrative Health Coaching

Omegas for Athletes

If you’re an athlete, you probably think a lot about nutrition — even more so if you’re a vegetarian or simply trying to eat more plant-based. One class of nutrients that can often go missing in a vegetable lover’s diet is omega fatty acids. That’s a concern, because omegas play a vital role in an athlete’s diet. Why should athletes take an omega? 

Check out these omega benefits:

  1. Recovery. 

Regular exercise helps promote a healthy inflammation balance in the body, but strenuous exercise can also cause a temporary spike in inflammation, particularly if you overdo it.  Omegas can help with inflammation this promoting recovery. One study of young women who were just taking up weight training found 33 – 42% less soreness with omegas.  

  1. Healthy Blood Levels. 

Many people eat fish or take fish oil for omega-3.  I’ll save my  issues with fish oil supplements for a different day.  How do you get vegetarian omega-3? Nuts and seeds!  But…you’ve got to eat a lot to bring your blood levels to an optimal level. A more concentrated source of vegan omega-3 is oil derived from algae (the same place fish get it!). 

  1. Nutrient Diversity. 

As an athlete, it’s crucial to get just the right mix of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats onto your plate. Healthy fats include monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, such as omega fatty acids. Just like protein and carbs, omegas are essential elements of an athlete’s diet, whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned competitor.

  1. Work Out Harder. 

Several studies have found omegas improve various measures of athletic prowess.  One of these was performed on 30 young men who were spending an average of 17 hours a week training. Even these athletes, who were already performing at a high level, got stronger and experienced less fatigue when they took an omega supplement.

  1. Stay Well.     

Nothing sidelines a workout like being under the weather. And your immune system can be temporarily depressed after a long, hard workout, leaving athletes particularly susceptible to immune challenges. A study of 37 healthy young cyclists found that taking an omega supplement increased several markers of immune function.