Do you feel sore to the core after tough workouts? Consider adding fish oils to your diet.
“Fish oils are unique because they represent a major dietary source of compounds called omega-3 fatty acids,” explains Roberta Anding, RD, CSSD, sports dietician for the Houston Texans and the Roger Clemens Institute. One beneficial effect is that they can reduce inflammation, which causes joint pain, exercise-induced asthma and some autoimmune disorders.
That’s good news for your body—just don’t expect a light-switch response. Anding says, “You have to hang with it for about a month before you start to see benefits.”
In terms of dosage, consistency is key. “If you take it once a week, it won’t do you any good,” Anding says. She recommends two grams of fish oil daily. Higher doses can be detrimental, especially if you tend to get cut up during practice, because it can prevent blood from clotting.
Before buying or taking any fish oils, scan the label to ensure the product’s quality. A U.S. Pharmacopeia [USP] seal is one good measure of purity. You can also check out consumerlab.com, which routinely tests dietary supplements on the market.
Anding’s top choice is:
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Fish Oil
$15.95 [60 soft gels] nordicnaturals.com
Other top brands include:
Schiff Nutrition Omega-3 Fish Oil
$9.99 [100 soft gels] schiffvitamins.com
Nature’s Bounty Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fish Oil
$10.99 [100 soft gels] naturesbounty.com
Nature Made Odorless Fish Oil
$9.99 [60 soft gels] naturemade.com
GNC Fish Body Oils 1000
$7.99 [90 soft gels] gnc.com
If you have a fish allergy, Anding recommends flax seed as an excellent alternative. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and is a good source of fiber and natural antioxidants. Although you can consume flax seed oil, Anding recommends using the whole seed, which can be found at most health food stores. Aim to get an ounce per day; try mixing it with oatmeal, mashed potatoes or a hamburger patty. To ensure freshness, keep the seeds in a pepper grinder in the refrigerator.