Ways Essential Fatty Acids Benefit the Body
Essential Fatty Acid Benefits

Essential Fatty Acid Benefits 

Essential fatty acids, more commonly known as omega-3 and omega-6, are fats that cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through food. Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with anti-inflammatory benefits, while omega-6 fatty acids are associated with pro-inflammatory responses in the body.

It is important to ensure a healthy balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. It is suggested that a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is between 1:1 and 4:1; however, studies show that the typical Western diet may be closer to 16:1! 


Omega-3 health benefits include balancing hormones, promoting skin health, reducing inflammation, regulating blood sugar, and supporting cardiovascular health by relaxing blood vessels and keeping cholesterol and triglycerides in check.

Ultimately, omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and prevent complications like sudden cardiac death.


On the other hand, omega-6 can lead to concerning health consequences related to chronic inflammatory disease that includes cardiovascular disease and stroke, diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.

Food Sources of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. You will also find omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, hemp hearts, hemp seed oil, and walnuts. 

Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, processed foods, fast food, and commercial baked goods.

Improve Your Ratio

One of the best ways to ensure you are getting a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is to cut back on your intake of processed vegetable oils and the food products that contain them. More home-cooked meals are an easy way to do this.

You can also improve your ratio by consuming more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Replace unhealthy oils loaded with omega-6 fatty acids with healthier “Green Light” options such as olive oil, avocado oil, coconut, or sesame oil. 

How to Include More Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

  • Add more fatty fish, like salmon and sardines. Try new recipes like salmon burgers for something different, or simply grill salmon on the BBQ.
  • For homemade salad dressings, add a few tablespoons of flaxseed oil for a delicious nutty flavor.
  • Sprinkle flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp hearts onto your oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies.
  • Enjoy walnuts as a snack a few times per week.
  • Try chia seed puddings for snacks.

You don’t need to make all of these changes at once to impact your health. Start with one idea at a time and slowly work it into your routine until it becomes a new habit.

Have you heard of EPA and DHA? EPA and DHA are simply two types of omega-3 fatty acids. Both are very beneficial to your health, and both can be found in fatty fish. 

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