IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR HEALTH
Tara Gidus Collingwood
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential in all of the body’s cells, especially in the brain (30 percent of brain weight is omega-3s). Omega-3s provide many health benefits, including protecting the brain and heart, reducing inflammation and aiding in recovery.
There are three main types of omega-3s: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid: Found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel, these are the most absorbable forms of omega-3s. EPA repairs brain tissue, reduces inflammation, and supports mood and focus; DHA is essential for brain development, cellular structure, and function.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid: Found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp and walnuts, our body can convert the omega-3s in these food sources to EPA and DHA. ADVERTISEMENT However, it’s difficult to measure how much actually gets converted and if it’s sufficient.
- Speeds recovery post workout and with injury
- Lowers risk of overuse injury
- Improves joint mobility and flexibility
- Decreases inflammation
- Promotes healthy immune response
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to active muscle
- Lowers risk of concussion
- Supports optimal fat metabolism and lean body composition
Dosage and Sources
- 2,000-4,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day for high intensity activity
- Experts recommend eating at least two servings of seafood each week, preferably of fatty fish
Tara Gidus Collingwood is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness and health promotion. She is currently the nutrition consultant to the USTA National Campus with Andrews Institute and Nemours, the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic NBA team, the nutrition consultant to University of Central Florida Athletic Department and a nutrition and exercise executive coach at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.