Fish is a must have in the diet of non-vegetarian and non-vegan athletes. I recommend fish after a hard weekend of training or after an intense workout. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish (particularly EPA) have a tremendous positive affect on inflammation. Since you train your body in order to strengthen the heart, omega-3's are also helpful to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, LDLs (bad cholesterol) and BP, while increasing good HDL cholesterol. Since we exercise for heart-health, in addition to performance gains, it is important to eat to keep your muscles, tissues, bones and heart healthy through healthy food choices. The healthy fats in fish can also help prevent stroke and heart attack. Although you may consider yourself healthy for exercising on a daily basis, a clean diet filled with healthy fats is critical if you want to keep your arteries and veins healthy. No point feeling confident in your exercise routine if you eat unhealthy (trans fats, saturated fats) and your insides are not as healthy as your outsides.
In addition to reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancers, Omega-3 fatty acids are great for your skin and brain function....so load up on foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
As for vegetarians, depending on why you are a vegetarian and animal-derived foods which you choose to limit, you can take fish oils (which do have the oil of a fish in them) on a daily basis. I am fine with taking fish oils however I do not eat fish. Other options include flax (seeds or oil), tofu, greens, squash and walnuts, which are all all good sources of omega's.
Alpha-linolenic acid is one of two essential fatty acids (the other is linoleic acid, an omega-6). Any time you hear the word "essential" such as essential amino acids or essential fats, the body can't manufacture them on its own so they must be obtained in the diet (from foods you eat or supplements).
Here are foods rich in omega's:
Ground, dried cloves
Ground, dried oregano
Here's a great salad for you to try when you are ready to quickly recover after a hard workout or a long day of stress!
Asian Inspired Tilapia Salad
Tilapia (frozen or fresh)
1/8 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp ginger (ground)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1. If you are using a frozen tilapia, stick it in the fridge for a few hours before using.
2. Mix together the soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a large bowl.
3. Place tilapia in bowl and rub mixture over tilapia. If the garlic doesn't stick on tilapia, you can pour any extra garlic on the tilapia as it is cooking.
4. On a low-heat pan w/ olive oil, lay tilapia on pan. Cook for 2-4 minutes and then flip. Cook for 2-3 minutes and turn off heat. You can also cook in the oven. The tilapia may fall apart as you take it out of the skillet so be careful when removing.
I served this tilapia (for Karel) with a romaine salad filled with fresh carrots, corn, tofu and mushrooms. Top with salsa. Enjoy!