Nutrition 7 Ways Omega-3 Fats Benefit Runners

7 Ways Omega-3 Fats Benefit Runners


Runners rely on sleep and nutrition to help our bodies recover when training demands overwhelming physical and mental stamina. Besides these conventions, studies have also proved that incorporating healthy fats into your diet can boost athletic performance. What does omega-3 do for runners? Learn the seven benefits of consuming fish oil and see how it can improve your health and abilities. 

1. Reduces Inflammation

Runners need to stay healthy and disease-free before and after a race. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to meals protects against several illnesses rooted in uncontrolled inflammation. 

Scientists don’t fully understand the mechanism behind this impeccable benefit. However, they discovered that cell membranes with adequate healthy fats can command the cells to produce omega-3-derived metabolites, which turn off the inflammation response and promote healing. Tissues and cells can repair damage caused by inflammation to keep you in good condition. 

NUTS ABOUT NUTS: Nuts are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

2. It Boosts Heart Health

Running is a strenuous cardio activity—you need a more robust cardiovascular system to withstand the pressure of the extended movement. Omega-3 fatty acids keep the heart healthy in several ways, such as:

  • Delaying the buildup of fat that blocks and hardens the arteries
  • Reducing triglycerides, a type of fat that circulates in the blood and increases the risk for heart conditions like stroke
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Minimizing the risk of developing arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat

Seafood is the best source of these healthy lipids. To meet their nutritional requirements, runners should try and eat at least two servings of fish weekly, including salmon, mackerel and tuna. The variety of options and recipes means you’ll (probably) never grow tired of consuming it.

3. It Improves Mood

We all know mood can help determine outcome, whether in practice or at a race. Besides moving and getting enough vitamin D, a diet that includes omega-3s can boost your mood, increasing your motivation to do well in every competition. Joy is wonderful fuel. Studies found omega-3 can reduce the risk of depression and encourage a sense of well-being. Include salmon and other fish sources on your plate to improve your emotional outlook. We know what it feels like after McDonald’s. Eat tuna for a month and register change.

TUNE IN, TUNA OUT: Like salmon, tuna is healthy, delicious and good for muscle recovery.

4. Accelerate Muscle Recovery

Studies found that omega-3 fatty acids can protect you against delayed onset muscle soreness and advance healing after strenuous exercise. Researchers deducted this conclusion after observing competitive soccer players who ran a lot and engaged in physically demanding activities. They combined a multi-ingredient supplement with fish oil, which resulted in less muscle damage post-training and reduced soreness during recovery.

Another group of experts did a similar study on 20 professional rugby players. They found that consuming a protein-based supplement with omega-3 decreased fatigue and boosted training performance.

5. Promotes Visual Acuity

Visual acuity is a significant skill, especially for runners who rely on clear vision to make swift movements. Unfortunately, today’s lifestyle doesn’t prioritize eye health. Everyone, including athletes, often spends too much time on screens or works on a monitor not placed at eye level, causing strain and irritation that can diminish visual abilities.  

Eating more healthy fats can help address eye discomfort. Researchers surveyed 206 optometrists about their attitudes and practice toward omega-3 fatty acids, and experts found that 79% of them recommended omega-3s to patients to improve their overall eye health. It’s one more reason for athletes to take fish oil. 

EYES WIDE SHUT: Sleep is a runner’s greatest asset. Omega-3 fatty acids can help.

6. It Supports Good Sleep Quality

A sufficient intake of healthful oils is also associated with a healthy sleep duration. Researchers studied healthy adults to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids affect the quality of their shuteye by examining the body’s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) volumes. They found consistently low levels of EPA, DHA and the sum of long-chain omega-3 fats in participants with very short sleep compared to those with normal sleep.  

What does omega-3 do for runners? One critical factor for optimal athlete performance is quality rest. If your bed activity involves tossing and turning until early morning, include more good fats in your diet or ask your doctor about supplementation. 

7. It Keeps Your Brain Sharp

Exceptional cognitive functions help athletes make snappy decisions, increasing their chances of winning a competition, and winning life. Ingesting omega-3 fatty acids can boost brain power and help them make wise decisions under pressure. 

In a scoping review involving 1,319 individuals, researchers found that those who consume healthy fats increased their cognitive well-being, learning and memory. More blood also circulates to the brain, contributing to better functions. They saw minor to zero side effects and risks in adding them to people’s diets. Consuming more good fats through diet or pills can help keep your brain sharp and active. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promotes Overall Health

Runners constantly engage in physically demanding training to ensure they’re fit to compete and achieve the best outcomes—long runs, speed work, all in preparation of big fall events. Omega-3 intake can promote speedy muscle recovery, better sleep and optimal cognitive function. Add it to your diet for optimum well-being and to potentially improve your athletic performance.


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