Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a type of fat that is needed to support and regulate important body functions in the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. EFAs can only be obtained from food sources.

The two types of EFAs are:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Good sources include walnuts and walnut oil, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, hempseeds and hempseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and cold-water fish.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids. Good sources include sesame seeds and sesame oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil.

You can greatly increase your omega 3s by eating fish 2 to 3 times a week.

Last Updated: February 6, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Diabetes Educator

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.