You know fish is good for you. "It's a rich source of protein and healthy fats," says Cassie Dimmick, M.S., R.D., a sports dietitian in Springfield, Missouri. But that doesn't mean you eat it: 48 percent of respondents to a runnersworld.com poll said they eat seafood only occasionally and usually at restaurants.
What's the problem? If fresh fish seems inconvenient, expensive, and hard to prepare, you're forgetting about a handy option: canned swimmers. In many ways canned fish is a better choice for runners. Multiple common varieties offer less-expensive, better-tasting products naturally low in toxins and contaminants and, as a bonus, harvested in an environmentally sustainable way.
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Shelf-stable and already cooked, canned fish is there when you're ready for a protein-rich recovery meal.
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CAN DO Anchovies
This tiny, silvery fish has a robust, savory flavor. The canned or jarred fillets are a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and rich in selenium.
"There is some research suggesting selenium helps with joint health," says Molly Kimball, R.D., a sports dietitian in New Orleans, "and omega-3 fats can help fight inflammation."
Anchovies are also an excellent source of niacin, which the body uses to convert food into energy. Quick to reproduce, wild anchovy populations are healthy and there is little contamination risk. The fish is often salt-cured and packed in olive oil, which makes them ideal after a sweaty run when you need electrolytes (or to eliminate some of the salt, soak them in water for 30 minutes and pat dry with paper towels). Though a salt-heavy diet can be dangerous to your long-term health, there are benefits for athletes. Learn How to Use Sodium in Your Training.