Omega-6 Fatty Acids

cooking oil high in omega-6 fats
Corn oils and most vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Tom Kelley Archive/Retrofile/Getty Images

Definition: Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of fat essential for our bodies to function. However, in general we get plenty of this type of fat in our diets – in fact, most people are getting too much of the omega-6 type of fats as opposed to the omega-3 fatty acids. This tends to cause increased inflammation in the body, which may contribute to chronic diseases such as heart disease.

Also Known As: Linoleic acid and arachidonic acid are two of the omega-6 fatty acids.

Alternate Spellings: ω-6 fats or fatty acids

Examples: Soy oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, margarine, canola oil and cottonseed oil, as well as mayonnaise and salad dressings made with those oils, and any foods made with or fried in those oils, are all high in omega-6 fats. Also, regular sunflower and safflower oils are high in omega-6. but there are also "high oleic" versions of those oils, where the seeds have been bred to provide more monounsaturated fats - these are not high in omega-6 fats. Seeds and nuts with the highest amounts of omega-6 include walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts (but note that we tend to eat these in much smaller quantities than in oil form).

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