Salmon: The Omega-3 Superfood

For athletes, maintaining a balanced and well-rounded diet is crucial for achieving your goals. In this article we’ll focus on salmon, a food rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. When it comes to seafood, salmon has one of the highest densities of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are vital for protecting the heart and lowering blood pressure. Keeping your heart strong is one of the most important things an athlete can do to maintain consistent performances for many years. The omega fats in salmon specifically are great for athletes due to the fact that they are so easily absorbed, and can be easily digested. Many experts agree that eating about 8 ounces of salmon once a week is a good amount to absorb the benefits that it provides.

Salmon also brings with it vitamin D, which helps support strong and healthy bones as well as boosting your immune system. For any sort of muscle recovery whether you are a boxer, skier, runner or decathlon competitor, protein should be a staple of your diet. The protein in salmon can help repair connective tissue and help rebuild strong muscles after a difficult workout. Hard exercise can lead to muscle soreness, and the omega-3 fatty acids can help to lower this inflammation and to get your body recovering much faster. Calcium intake is another aspect of the diet that athletes must not forget about. A ½ cup of canned salmon provides the body with 290 milligrams of calcium which is the same as a 6 ounce glass of milk.

Another interesting characteristic of salmon is the B vitamins that it provides. Vitamin B6 and B12 can be both used by the body to break down food into energy. Kim Larson, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that, “B12 is important in red blood cell production and supports aerobic energy metabolism by maintaining hemoglobin to help with oxygen transport. Athletes have a vested interest in optimizing their aerobic capacity in the blood to fuel their performance.” While most studies push the omega-3 and B vitamin benefits of salmon, the small bioactive protein molecules that are within salmon have also been proven to support joint cartilage and control inflammation. When it comes to the statistics of salmon, the breakdown is as follows:


Salmon Type Total Fat (3oz) Omega 3 Acids (3oz) Cholesterol (3oz)
Atlantic, Farmed 10.5g 1,800mg 54mg
King, Wild 11.3g 1,700mg 72mg
Coho, Wild 3.7g 900mg 47mg
Sockeye, Wild 5.7g 800mg 54mg
Chum, Wild 4.1g 800mg 81mg
Pink, Wild 4.5g 700mg 55mg


Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Incorporating salmon into your diet 1-2 times per week will get you the necessary benefits described above. As an athlete it is always important to maintain a well-rounded diet, so check out the link below to find a recipe for Lemon Rosemary Salmon that you can make at home!

Lemon Rosemary Salmon Recipe