Boost heart health with these key plant based foods

Boost Heart Health With These Key Plant-Based Foods

Specific nutrients found in these plant-based foods can help boost your heart health

Whatever your nutritional profile, we should all aim to boost our heart health. I prefer to receive all the health benefits animal protein brings without harming anything. Perhaps you would like to make a difference in a small way, too. 

Although many people try to create more of a plant-based healthy environment—which is excellent—we have to look at the essential foods that will help our health. Omega-3 is a crucial nutrient for many reasons, and honestly, not everyone likes eating seafood. 

Perhaps the taste, texture, or overall smell puts people off seafood. Even though you may not be a massive fan of seafood, getting enough omega-3s into your diet is still crucial. Supplementation is excellent, but there are a couple of foods you might like to consider eating more of every day. 

Plant-based forms of ALA (Dietary sources of alpha-linolenic acid) are apparent in walnuts and flaxseeds, even more so when you incorporate them into a diet filled with rich fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Jennifer Fleming — an assistant teaching professor at Penn State, says: “It’s also very beneficial for those who currently eat seafood to get the added benefits of plant-based Omega three.” So, if you are a meat eater — you should still try incorporating walnuts and flaxseeds into your diet.

Here’s why; “When people with low levels of omega-three in their diets ate ALA, they saw a benefit in cardiovascular health.  However, people with high levels of omega-three from other sources ate more ALA and saw a benefit.  So it could be that ALA works synergistically with other omega threes.” States Fleming. Studies conducted regarding the health benefits of ALA concluded they helped to reduce the following: 

  •  Total cholesterol
  •  Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  •  Triglycerides
  • Blood pressure & inflammation

This overall result is more than likely why ALA benefits the heart. When the elements mentioned above are under control, the body starts to respond more positively—in other words, heart health improves. Emilio Ros, emeritus investigator at Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi Sunyer, a research institution linked to Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and Barcelona University, has concluded these findings.

How can you include more ALAs in your diet? The following plant-based food sources contain the most beneficial ALAs.

  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Canola (rapeseed) oil
  • Soybeans and soybean oil
  • Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil
  • Perilla seed oil
  • Tofu
  • Walnuts and walnut oil

Although ALA is also available as cooking oil, I would not recommend using it as the nutritional benefits are destroyed through the cooking process — and the oil becomes rancid. You can use them in salads, dressings and dips instead. You might also like to take 1/2 an ounce of walnuts or under one teaspoon of flaxseed oil. You can purchase flaxseed oil from a health-food store or online. 

Just ensure you refrigerate it  or keep it away from direct sunlight. More studies are needed to determine and understand how ALA can help another significant chronic disease. Try including a good omega-3 dose through seafood and ALA via plant-based alternatives. This should be an essential component of your diet if you suffer from heart disease or have a family history of it. 

Overall, getting the right vitamins and minerals your body needs through proper nutrition is always an excellent option. This will put you ahead of most people when protecting yourself from disease. You can check out the study here. 

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