If you are an athlete, you may very well have had to deal with injuries in the past, be they your own or your teammates’. Sports-related injuries, such as: falls, crashes, chronic stress of one or more body parts, dislocations etc. With everything that goes with it: pain, heat, discomfort, loss of use of the part in question, and so on and so forth.
What I want to let you know today is that there is a way – a scientifically-proven, exceptionally simple, safe and cheap way – to prevent injuries. Contrary to popular belief, these injuries are no accident, but rather the inevitable result of repeated trauma linked to certain types of activities (running, cycling, swimming etc.) and latent chronic inflammation conditions that encourage injuries and slow down the healing process.
In a 2015 study, Dr. Morten Bryhn demonstrated that it is possible to prevent sports-related injuries and improve both healing times and natural healing processes by simply ensuring a constant and adequate intake of sources of Omega 3. You must have heard this essential fatty acid mentioned a million times, as it is useful in a wide range of fields and known mostly for its contribution to the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, but it is also a nutrient which is capable of preventing inflammation and contributing to accelerating healing after injuries.
Let us now take a detailed look at how you can best incorporate it into your daily diet.
THE PROPER BALANCE BETWEEN OMEGA 3 AND OMEGA 6
Inflammation and natural healing processes are influenced by the relationship between Omega 3 and Omega 6 present in our bodies. An excess of the former and shortage of the latter not only slows down healing, but may even favour the onset of inflammation, increasing the risk of injury. Preventing sports-related injuries is a matter of tipping the scales in favour of Omega 3. The optimal ratio between these two fatty acids would be 1 (Omega 3) to 5 (Omega 6). However, the relationship usually seen in the Western population on average, and therefore also in athletes, is quite the opposite: from 1 (Omega 3) to 17 (Omega 6) to 1 (Omega 3) to 40 (Omega 6).
Unsurprisingly, therefore, there is a high incidence of injuries and a booming painkiller and anti-inflammatory market, even though the frequent, prolonged use of such drugs is actually not recommended for treating injuries. The excessive use of these drugs not only leads to side effects and an excessive strain on the gastrointestinal system, but also a distorted perception of pain, which certainly does not help users to evaluate and therefore act upon injuries correctly.
OMEGA 3: FROM FOOD OR FROM SUPPLEMENTS?
The diet and lifestyle of the Western population are the main factors responsible for this inverse balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6. The best sources of Omega 3 are oily fish (tuna, cod, mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring) and certain types of seaweed. Sources of Omega 6, on the other hand, include corn, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, beef, poultry and egg yolk. The Western diet, apart from including very few foods which are naturally rich in Omega 3, favours the consumption of foods that often come from polluted farms or environments, meaning that the quantity and quality of Omega 3 available in said foods are both reduced.
There are two solutions to reverse this situation and prevent sports-related injuries.
- Greatly increasing your consumption of foods that contain Omega 3 (seaweed and fresh, wild oily fish) and significantly reducing your consumption of foods that contain Omega 6;
- Taking daily Omega 3 supplements.
OMEGA 3 SUPPLEMENTATION: HOW AND WHEN
If you have chosen to prevent injuries by taking Omega 3 in supplement form, here are a few tips to get the best out of it.
First of all, choose a high-quality supplement. Check the origins and certifications of the product being offered to you. The recommended daily dose for an anti-inflammatory function is around 1600mg of Omega 3 per day. This quantity may very according to your body weight. Finally, the best time to take your Omega 3 supplements is in the evening, either with dinner or before you go to bed.