Omega 6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids and they make up two groups. Included in Omega-6 fatty acids are linoleic acid and their derivatives. Essential fatty acids cannot be made by humans from nutrients or any other type of dietary fat.
Because essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured they must be consumed in your diet. Also, essential fatty acids cannot be stored in the body. As they are a required part of nutrition essential fatty acids must be consumed daily.
Linoleic acid and their derivatives come from both plant and animal sources. Plant sources include unprocessed and unheated oils such as corn, soy, and sunflower. Omega 6 fatty acids can also be found in plant materials such as leafy greens, evening primrose, and black currant seeds. Lean meats, breast milk, and organ meats are the animal sources of Omega-6 fatty acids.
Foods that are high in Omega-6 fatty acids include eggs, meat, whole grains, cereals, baked goods, and vegetable and nut polyunsaturated oils. Many people have curbed eggs from their diet out of fear of raising their level of cholesterol. However, research has shown that eggs, which are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and many other important nutrients, provide valuable benefits. Eggs can help with weight management, brain function, muscle strength, and healthy pregnancy.
Walnuts, flax seeds, and almonds are excellent sources of Omega-6 fatty acids. Fish such as tuna is another healthy source of Omega-6. Unfortunately, American diets tend to have too much Omega-6 fatty acids in their diets. One of the leading causes of high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids in American diets is directly related to the consumption of fast foods.
Fast foods are often cooked in oils that contain Omega-6 fatty acids. Foods such as French fries, fried chicken, onion rings, and hamburgers are popular fast foods and Americans consume millions of these foods each day. Over consumption of Omega-6 fatty acids can contribute to obesity, heart disease, cancer, and even depression.
Although Western diets are high in Omega-6 fatty acids it is possible, in rare cases, to have an Omega-6 deficiency. Because Omega-6 deficiency is rare it is often misdiagnosed. Many people who have a deficiency do not realize this is the case and often do not pay attention to the symptoms.
Omega-6 fatty acid deficiency symptoms can include arthritis like conditions, skin eruptions that are similar to eczema, and slow wound healing. Pregnant women may experience miscarriages and men may even become sterile. Other symptoms of Omega 6 fatty acid deficiency include behavioral disturbances as well as heart and circulatory problems.
Omega-6 fatty acids provide the body with many important benefits. Our bodies need essential fatty acids for fetal brain growth. Essential fatty acids are a source of energy. They keep our bodies warm by helping to provide insulation.
Our bodies cannot function properly without essential fatty acids. They help absorb and transport vitamins that are fat-soluble throughout the bloodstream. Essential fatty acids also help to control body function such as clotting of blood, inflammation, and blood pressure by providing vital raw materials.
Although Omega-6 fatty acids are extremely vital to our health we must remember that there has to be an appropriate balance.