For professional athletes, eating well is just as important as training well. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout are excellent sources of lean protein and omega-3s, which help reduce inflammation that can hamper athletic performance and contribute to chronic conditions like heart disease. Salmon also boasts nutrients that are beneficial for our heart and brain health and as such it is a regular feature in many athletes’ diets – not to mention, it’s delicious too!

In this blog, we’ll explain why Scottish farm-raised salmon should is a key part of any athlete’s diet.

Heart health

Omega 3 fish oil is great for heart health and essential for getting blood pumping. In fact, a major study on heart disease concluded that eating one to two servings of oil-rich fish every week may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 25%. Fish oil can also help reduce the inflammation caused by exercise. This allows for quicker recovery and less muscle pain.

Protein

Athletes typically need a lot more protein in their diet than your average person, particularly for building muscle, and salmon is the perfect source – just one serving can account for 41% of a person’s daily recommended intake of protein! The protein level is similar to that in red meat, however salmon has the benefit of higher omega-3 fats. These healthy polyunsaturated fats are best sourced from seafood and cannot be made by the body.

Eating well also aids recovery from workouts and helps to avoid slumps in energy. Salmon is a great recovery food in that it is beneficial for repairing connective tissues and rebuilding muscles. It also has low levels of cholesterol, whilst being rich in niacin, vitamin b6, and riboflavin, all of which help the body convert food into energy.

Avoiding aches and pains

Omega-3 fish oils aren’t just great for your heart, they’re also great for easing stiffness in joints and can combat the chemicals that destroy cartilage, meaning salmon is a superfood for athletes that may suffer from aching knees and hips. Unsurprisingly, many doctors prescribe fish oil to reduce the discomfort caused by joint problems.

Mood booster

Exercise alone is well known to release chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger and positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. The consumption of omega-3s however also helps support our bodies’ serotonin levels, more commonly known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone. Without omega-3s, your serotonin won’t work as effectively as it should. This is also why omega-3s may improve depressive symptoms.

Versatile

Salmon is known for its delicate, less ‘fishy’ taste than many other varieties of oily fish, such as sardines and mackerel. It’s also extremely versatile and easy to cook with – it can be steamed, smoked, grilled, baked, the options are endless. It can even be served raw in sushi and sashimi.

Salmon is a nutritional powerhouse that provides several impressive health benefits. Consuming at least two portions per week can help you meet your nutrient needs and reduce the risk of several diseases. Including this oily fish as a regular part of your diet will not only boost your athletic performance, but it may very well improve your quality of life and health too!

Want to learn more about the health benefits of Scottish salmon? Visit the health section on our website.