When faced with a heart attack like a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening event, turn to anything that could help you heal, recover, stay out of the hospital forever, and live years longer. A new study from the American College of Cardiology found that eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids resulted in patients living at least 3 years longer than those who did not eat these heart-healthy foods after such an event.

They checked in with patients years after their first hospitalization and found that those with the highest levels of omega-3s in their blood were also the healthiest, while those who didn’t eat these omega-3-rich foods either returned to the hospital with them new heart problems were admitted or died within the 3 years. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that consuming foods high in omega-3s improved patient outcomes and helped prevent them from returning to the hospital.

Omega-3s come in two types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Both appear to be beneficial for patients with heart disease. EPA is found in marine foods such as oily fish, while ALA is found in plant foods such as walnuts, as well as hemp seeds, flax seeds, edamame, kidney beans, and Brussels sprouts, as well as other plant foods.

“In addition, consumption of ALA and EPA provided the greatest benefit, indicating a synergistic effect and unique protective properties when both types of omega-3 are consumed,” the study said.

“Dietary omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has several cardioprotective properties,” concluded the study’s authors. “We also examined the association of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA as a substitute for the intake of vegetable omega-3) with all-cause mortality,” and found it protective too.

The study looked at 944 consecutive men and women, and during follow-up, those with the highest EPA and ALA blood levels were also the ones with the lowest risk of adverse symptoms. So if you want to avoid or recover from heart disease, eat your omega-3 foods. Here are the 7 best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.


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