Food for Thought: Omega-3s Are Beyond Essential

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 /by

As a sports nutritionist who works with professional and competitive athletes, including tennis players, I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks that give my clients an edge. An in my 10-plus years of practice, not a week goes by that we don’t learn more about how particular foods and nutrients help the body operate like a well-oiled machine. Each one of your body’s 100 trillion cells relies solely on what you eat and drink to fuel your performance and help you recover. And while sports nutrition isn’t an exact science, there are plenty of tried and true techniques every tennis player should know.

The 20 Things You Need to Know About Nutrition

6. Omega-3s Are Beyond Essential
Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a laundry list of benefits, from fighting heart disease and Alzheimer’s to staving off type 2 diabetes. But a recent study published in the Journal of Physiology found that they also influence protein metabolism. In a study on steer, researchers added supplements of either omega-3s from fish oil or a mixture of cottonseed and olive oils without omega-3s to the regular diet of the animals. After five weeks, those receiving fish oil showed increased sensitivity to insulin, which in turn, improved muscle development. Twice the amount of amino acids were used by their bodies to build new protein tissues, especially in skeletal muscles. If you don’t eat enough seafood or you’re concerned with mercury, consider taking a daily omega-3 supplement that supplies about 1,000 mg of DHA and EPA combined.


1. Your Diet Impacts Your Brain Function
2. The Right Breakfast Fights Hunger All Day
3. Food Can Fight Pain
4. Don't Run on Empty
5. Sleep Matters ... A Lot
6. Omega-3s Are Beyond Essential
7. Milk Does More Than Double Duty
8. Don't Get Fooled by the Afterburn Myth
9. Organic Food is Worth the Extra Money
10. Alcohol May Weaken Muscle
11. Relying on the Sun for Vitamin D May Be a Mistake
12. Spices are a Secret Weapon
13. Chocolate is a Key Superfood
14. Buyer Beware When it Comes to Supplements
15. A Little Vitamin C Makes a Big Difference
16. Variety Trumps Quantity for Fruits & Veggies
17. Drinking Water May Help You Lose Weight
18. Bacteria Are Critical to Your Health
19. Calcium Isn't Just for Strong Bones
20. Let an Expert Personalize Your Plan

Originally published in the January/February 2012 issue of TENNIS.

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