Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are the good fats that are critical for people to consume. They are very important because we humans cannot synthesize them in our bodies. EFA's not only support the cardiovascular,immune, reproductive and nervous systems, they are responsible for proper brain function.
For an athlete, they provide energy for the later stages of a game as well as to protect the internal organs.
Pretty important I'd say.
Consuming foods like flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or fish, like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna into your diet or taking a flax or fish oil supplement one to two times per day is a good start.
I usually have my athletes make a protein smoothie with a tablespoon of flax or olive oil in it and consume at least two a day. This recipe is used by many sports performance specialists around the country and is a great way to get EFA's into their athlete's diet.
Omega-6 and-9 round out the other EFA's. Omega-6 or linoleic acid is widely believed to be consumed to heavily by people and I'm sure athletes. It is found in unhealthy foods such as sugars (the bad ones like high fructose corn syrup) and processed foods,
Sounds like a typical youth and even collegiate athletes diet. At least the ones I know.
The good Omega-6 foods are basically the same as Omega-3's with the exception of fish but add chicken.
Omega-9 or Oleic acid are found in olive oils, almonds,peanuts and avocados to name a few.
Athletes however, should focus on more Omega-3's and consume them on a regular basis.
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From Essential Fatty Acids to Sports Nutrition