If you read any nutrition articles, you have definitely heard about Omega 3’s and probably know they are good for you. But do you know:

  • Why you should eat them?
  • What are some good sources?
  • How they benefit you as an athlete?

Well if not, don’t worry. I am going to fill you in, so keep reading!

Why you should eat them? Omega 3’s are considered an essential fatty acid because they contain a nifty carbon bond at the 3rd carbon from the methyl end (see picture below). The human body cannot make fatty acids with a double bond before the 9th carbon, which is why omega 3’s and omega 6’s are “essential” meaning we must consume them in our diets. Good news is that we get plenty of omega 6’s. The bad new is that in excess those can promote inflammation. More good news! We can combat that with eating more omega 3’s which help to reduce inflammation, along with their many other health promoting properties.

What are some good sources? The best sources of omega 3’s is fish, in particular fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel. Other sources of seafood, like shrimp, scallops and mahi mahi contain them too, just in smaller amounts. This is why you should aim to eat at least 2 servings of fish each week! Lacey recommends salmon because it is low in mercury, which can be an issue with some other fish like albacore tuna, swordfish and king mackerel.

Why are omega 3’s beneficial for athletes? As I mentioned earlier, omega 3’s help to reduce inflammation which can boost your recovery.¹ They also act as vasodilator, which means they help to increase the flow of oxygen into muscle during exercise, thus can potentially help to increase endurance.²  Moreover emerging research also shows that they may help to increase cognitive function, improve reaction times and improve muscle recovery in athletes.³

By now we assume you understand why we are so big on eating salmon! If you are ready to start upping your intake of omega 3’s we have just the recipe for you…. SALMON WATTS!

Salmon Watts (GF and Dairy Free)

Makes 1 bowl; Takes ~20 minutes to prepare

Ingredients:

  • 1 Salmon Fillet (can sub chicken, tofu or shrimp), 4 oz
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1/2 cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces, 
  • 1/2 cup Bell Pepper, red, yellow or orange, chopped,
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger or 1 frozen ginger cube (see notes)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced, 1 frozen garlic cube (see notes) or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy sauce
  • 3/4 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 cup Rice (brown or white) or Quinoa, cooked

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Start with a fresh, boneless, skinless filet. Cut it into bite-sized cubes. (about an inch) and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Chop up the veggies (you can cut up a few meals worth if you like to save time): Cut the pepper in half, scrap out the seeds and then chop into 1/2″ pieces. Peel the onion and cut into bite-sided pieces. Cut off the bottom portion of the asparagus and then chop the remaining part into 1″ pieces. Peel and mince the garlic cloves if using. Save any extra veggies for later meals.
  3. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium high to high heat. Add the salmon and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, shaking and flipping the salmon GENTLY to cook on all sides. Transfer the salmon to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  4. In the same pan, add the bell peppers and onions. Stir quickly for about 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add an extra tsp of oil if needed to prevent sticking.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, ~1 min (don’t overcook, fresh garlic burns easily).
  6. Slowly add the soy sauce, honey, and ginger to the vegetables. Reduce heat to a simmer, and stir to combine
  7. Return the salmon to the pan, toss to coat.
  8. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with some sesame seeds or crushed cashews if desired.

Notes:

  • For salmon, we suggest looking for salmon raised without the use of antibiotics. You can find this as Whole Foods. Wild caught can be used, but it is less fatty and will not have as rich of a flavor. We recommend tofu or shrimp as a replacement and increase the oil to 1 tbsp. 
  • For the frozen garlic and ginger, we love the brand dorot!
  • If you want to change things up, try using salsa or pesto instead of the asian flavors we have suggested in the recipe.

NUTRITION (for 1 bowl):

580 Calories, 16g Fat, 77g Carbs, 6g Fiber, 32g of Protein

References:

1. Philpott JD, Witard OC, Galloway SDR. Applications of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for sport performance. Res Sports Med. 2019;27(2):219-237.

2. La Guen M, Chaté V, Hininger-Favier I, et al. A 9-wk docosahexaenoic acid-enriched supplementation improves endurance exercise capacity and skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in adult rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2016;310(3):E213-E224.

3. Nathan A Lewis, Diarmuid Daniels, Philip C Calder, Lindy M Castell, Charles R Pedlar, Are There Benefits from the Use of Fish Oil Supplements in Athletes? A Systematic Review, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 11, Issue 5, 1 September 2020, Pages 1300–1314


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Lacey provides education and guidance to athletes about how to make healthy food choices that supports their performance goals, aids in sustainable weight loss, and improves their recovery. We are currently in the process of developing custom nutrition plans and one-on-one counseling with her, so keep your eyes out for those to be released in the near future!