By Michelle Routhenstein, MS RD CDE CDN, Preventive Cardiology Dietitian, Owner of Entirely Nourished
Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is the plant based form of omega-3 fatty acids and it has many cardioprotective components to help protect your heart and reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. In a review of many large scale research studies, 1 gram per day of ALA reduced the risk of heart disease related deaths by 10%!
There are many research backed mechanisms of why this may. For instance, some studies show that ALA consumption decreases calcified atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. High amounts of calcified atherosclerotic plaque make our arteries narrow and may lead to a restriction of blood flow, which is one of the main causes of
coronary arteries disease, heart attacks and strokes. Studies also show that ALA improves cholesterol levels, maintains blood vessel health, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
10 ways to incorporate more plant based omega-3 fatty acids in your diet for heart health:
- Add edamame into your guacamole like I do in my Edamame-Guacamole dip from my Truly Easy Heart Healthy Cookbook.
- When a veggie burger, meatloaf, pancake or bread calls for an egg, swap it for a flax egg instead! Simply add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl, mix well, and let it sit for about 15 minutes until it congeals; then add it into the dish like you normally would an egg.
- Make a delicious chia pudding! I love to mash a banana, add 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, ¼ cup chia seeds, 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, and cinnamon to taste. Mix it all up, and store in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and viola!
- Top mango with some hemp seeds for a nutty, delicious snack.
- Try edamame pasta instead of regular pasta for a boost in alpha-linoleic acid, along with folate, potassium and fiber!
- Add crunch to your morning breakfast with a handful of walnuts.
- Shave Brussel sprouts into your salad for a textured boost!
- Make a chia berry jam, by adding chia seeds to frozen berries, a bit of water and a touch of honey; let it sit overnight and then smash altogether!
- Throw in some flax seeds into a smoothie for a heart healthy boost.
- Make a delicious hemp seed salad dressing by adding hemp oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic and some hemp hearts; mix well and enjoy!
Michelle Routhenstein is a Preventive Cardiology Dietitian, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator who specializes in heart disease management and prevention. She is the owner of Entirely Nourished, a thriving nutrition counseling and consulting private practice, based in New York City and virtually.
She has a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Nutrition and completed her nutrition training residency at New York University. She has over 10 years of experience counseling individuals and families on chronic disease prevention and management through personalized, science based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. To contact Michelle, you can visit her at www.entirelynourished.com, or on Instagram at Heart.Health.Nutritionist.
She recently published a cookbook called the Truly Easy Heart Healthy Cookbook, which is available on Amazon here.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.