Alpha-linolenic acid is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. It is similar to the omega-3 fatty acids that are in fish oil, called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your body can change alpha-linolenic acid into EPA and DHA but it cannot produce alpha-linolenic acid by itself. It must be obtained through diet.


Benefits

  • May protect against heart disease

  • May protect against stroke with neuroprotective properties

  • Aids in normal growth and development

  • May reduce inflammation that causes chronic disease like arthritis

Foods

  • Flaxseed/Flaxseed oil

  • Pumpkin seed/Pumpkin seed oil

  • Walnuts/Walnut oil

  • Chia seeds

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Hemp seed

  • Perilla see oil

Studies show...

  • People who eat a diet high in ALA are less likely to have a fatal heart attack

  • Women who eat a diet high in ALA are less likely to have sudden cardiac death

  • Walnuts, which are rich in ALA, are shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high cholesterol

  • Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids can slightly lower blood pressure in people with hypertenstion; one study showed it could lower blood pressure by as much as 30%

  • Perilla seed oil, which is rich in ALA, may help reduce inflammation and improve lung function in people with asthma

Notes

The oils mentioned in this post are best used in salad and other cold meals. The beneficial properties will likely be destroyed by heat.


Resources

Link, R., MD, RD. (2017, July 17). The 7 Best Plant Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Retrieved March 2, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s

St. Luke's Covid-19 Vaccine clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2021, from https://www.stlukes-stl.com/health-content/medicine/33/000284.htm