Make your heart happy with one powerful nutrient
This Heart Month, one of our experts is sharing her top secret to heart health. Sophia Tempanaro is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Memorial, and she says that one nutrient can best help prevent heart attack and stroke.
The power of omega-3s
“Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that help all the cells in the body grow and function as they should,” she says.
Omega-3 fats in the body serve as a source of energy and have been shown to provide many health benefits, such as preventing heart disease and stroke. One way omega-3s can do this is by lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body.
She continues, “If LDL levels are too high, it can create fatty build-up in your vessels and arteries, which can be dangerous. Omega-3s also help prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure, improving blood vessel function, and reducing inflammation.”
What makes them so essential is that your body cannot make them independently. You need to get omega-3s from other sources, such as food and/or supplements.
How to increase your omega-3s
Food sources rich in omega-3s include:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
“The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week to get the heart-healthy benefits of omega-3s or by taking supplements. However, it is strongly encouraged that you speak with your doctor before taking supplements, as it is possible to get all the omega-3s your body needs through diet alone,” Sophia adds.
She recommends this simple recipe to boost your daily omega-3 intake:
A classic favorite with a twist! Swap out packaged tuna for salmon to add more omega-3s to your diet. This makes for a great lunch that can be served with crackers and vegetables for dipping. You can also serve it as a sandwich on two pieces of whole wheat toast. Recipe adapted from: https://thesouthernladycooks.com/tuna-salad/.
Total Time: 10 mins
Serving Size: ⅔ cup
- 4 (2.6 oz pouches) salmon in water, drained
- 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish or chopped pickles
- ⅓ cup non-fat yogurt
- 2 eggs — boiled, peeled, and chopped
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve immediately, or let the mixture chill in the refrigerator.
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: 2/3 cup
- Calories: 132
- Protein: 16g
- Fat: 5.5g
- Cholesterol: 129 mg
- Carbohydrates: 3g
- Sodium: 348 mg
- Omega-3s: ~300mg
Talk to your primary care provider about how to improve your heart health. If you don’t have a primary care provider, find one by clicking the button below.