• Fats, Good Fats & Nothing but Good Fats

      How to Reduce Recovery Time and Promote Healing Through Food

       

      -By Lauren Antonucci, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE, CDN
      Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
      Marathoner, Ironman triathlete and Founding Director of Nutrition Energy, NYC

      You may already know that the American Heart Association recommends eating fish, particularly fatty fish, at least two times per week (3.5oz per serving) due to their high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help reduce triglyceride levels and heart disease.

      But did you also know that those same omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation in our bodies, and are therefore also extremely beneficial to athletes recovering from strenuous workouts and individuals recovering from injury or surgery?  Increased blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with decreased levels of IL-6 (interleukin-6), a marker of inflammation in the body as well as TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha). Those same individuals were also found to have higher levels of anti-inflammatory markers soluble IL-6r and IL-10 (tumor growth factor beta), which is a good thing for not only heart disease prevention, but also for muscle recovery! Research has also shown that omega-3 fatty acids have the power to increase blood flow by up to 36% during exercise, and decrease complaints such as muscle soreness, joint pain and swollen joints.

      How much should I strive to get each day?

      Depending on your symptoms and needs your doctor and/or registered dietitian may advise you to get anywhere from 1-4 grams (1,000-4,000mg) daily.

      So how can I get more omega-3 fatty acids into my life?

       

      Fish such as salmon (1900mg/3oz serving), mackerel (1200mg/3oz serving), herring (1885mg/3oz serving), and sardines (1360mg/3oz serving) contain high amounts of two types of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are, walnuts (2270mg/serving;1/4 cup), avocado (440mg/avocado), tofu (400mg/4oz serving) and flaxseeds (7,000mg/serving; ¼ cup)

      Are there any contraindications to omega-3 fatty acid supplements?

      Yes. Anyone with a history of excessive bleeding or who is or has ever been on any blood thinning medication should discuss this with their doctor and should not take fish or flax oil supplements, or greatly increasing their omega-3 fatty acid intake. All individuals considering supplementation with flax or fish oil as a means of aiding their recovery from exercise, illness or injury should discuss this with their doctor or registered dietitian before starting any supplementation.

      For more healthy and realistic nutrition tips, or to find out more about scheduling a nutrition evaluation for yourself, please visit www.nutritionenergy.com or contact Lauren Antonucci, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE, CDN directly by  email at lauren@Nutritionenergy.com or at (646) 361-6803. Insurance is accepted at Nutrition Energy.