Foods with essential fatty acids


Essential fatty acids are a type of healthy fats that our body is unable to synthesize and, therefore, must be provided externally, that is, through the food we eat. A diet rich in these essential fatty acids is vital to good health, since they are responsible for numerous functions and processes of great importance within our body. Among its functions we highlight the synthesis of substances such as good cholesterol, new cells and / or vasodilator substances.

Foods with essential fatty acids

A diet poor in essential fatty acids can bring us various problems in our health. Therefore, in this article we inform you about the main foods with essential fatty acids and their different properties.

Types of essential fatty acids and their properties

As we have indicated, essential fatty acids are characterized by being polyunsaturated, that is, our body does not have the ability to synthesize these forms of fats. Within these, we find two main types of essential fatty acids:

Omega 3 (linolenic acid)

Omega 3 is an essential acid that is characterized by its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which are vitally important to prevent diseases such as arthritis and to relieve premenstrual syndrome. In addition, it also provides a great help in some nerve and brain functions.

Within this essential acid, we find three other subtypes:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): it is the most abundant within the omega 3.
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): contains vasodilator and anticoagulant properties.
  • Docosahexanoic acid (DHA): it is an essential fat for the eyesight, the nervous system and during pregnancy

Omega 6 (linoleic acid)

Omega 6 is an essential fatty acid that is characterized by being much more abundant in food than omega 3. The properties of this essential fatty acid are quite similar to those of linolenic acid; however, its anti-inflammatory action is less potent than the other essential acid.

Omega 6 also has 3 subtypes of fatty acids:

  • Gamma linoleic acid (GLA): contains anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory and vasodilator properties.
  • Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid (DGLA): its characteristics are very similar to that of the previous one.
  • Arachidonic acid (AA): it has immunostimulant, antidermatitic and hepatoprotective properties.

Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 or linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid for the functioning of some parts of our body. These are the main foods that contain omega 3:

  • Oily fish: they are the foods of animal origin richest in omega 3 acid providing a very interesting amount of this oil. However, in order not to lose the properties of omega 3 it is necessary that this type of fish is cooked at low temperatures. Among the blue fish with omega 3 we can find sardines, anchovies, salmon, cod and herring.
  • Seafood: These types of foods are also high in omega 3. Among the richest in this acid are crabs, prawns, lobsters and prawns.
  • Eggs: in addition to being a food that stands out for its richness in protein, it also has a high content of omega 3, especially the yolk of the egg. According to some recent studies the egg does not increase the levels of bad cholesterol, so you can consume one a day.
  • Vegetable oils: they are a very rich source of omega 3, especially flaxseed oil, which is even recommended as a food supplement. They also have a considerable content of omega, oils such as canola, hazelnut, walnut and soybean.
  • Nuts: These types of foods are also an excellent source of omega 3 fats. The richest nut in this oil are walnuts followed by almonds, hazelnuts and then chestnuts.
  • Other foods that also stand out for containing omega 3 are: soy, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, chia seeds, sage seeds, krill oil and fish oil.

Foods rich in Omega 6 fatty acids

Omega 6 is a fatty acid that is involved in some essential functions such as the formation of hormones and cells. Here are the foods that contain omega 6:

  • Vegetable oils: among this type of food, the richness of omega 6 of safflower oil stands out, which we can take both raw and as a food supplement. Other oils are rich in omega 6 such as corn, sesame and sunflower oil.
  • The egg not only stands out for its richness in omega 3 but also contains a good content of this other essential fatty acid.
  • Some fish are also very rich in omega 6. Among them, sardines, trout and salmon stand out, which are also an excellent source of other healthy nutrients for the body.
  • Meat also contains a considerable amount of omega 6. Although the list is long, the meats with the richest are pork, lamb, beef and chicken.
  • Some nuts are also rich in omega 6. Among them are walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and both sunflower and pumpkin seeds.


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