Sources of Omega Fatty Acids

Do you get enough of these essential oils in your diet?

Credit: Flickr / D’Arcy Norman

A Mediterranean-style diet is a good source of the three essential omega fatty acids

The body requires certain essential Omega fatty acids, but cannot create them on its own. Here’s how to add them to your diet

Omega essential polyunsaturated fatty acids are vital for good health. However, since the body doesn’t produce them, they must be obtained through food or supplements.

Sources and Importance of Omega-3-6-9


Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in cognitive and behavioural function. They also help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure while boosting HDL (good) cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Good sources of omega-3s are fatty fish (e.g., salmon, sardines and mackerel) and plant and nut oils, including flaxseed, pumpkin seed and walnut.


Omega-6 fatty acids stimulate skin and hair growth, assist in regulating metabolism and contribute to bone and reproductive health.

The best dietary sources of omega-6s are oils that contain linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, such as evening-primrose and black-currant oils. Spirulina (blue-green algae) is another good source.


Omega-9 is not an essential fatty acid – the body can make it in small amounts, provided omega-3 and 6 are present.

Omega-9s (found in olive oil as well as avocados, almonds, sesame oil, cashews, peanuts and macadamia nuts) lower cholesterol and boost the immune system.

Fatty Acids in Your Diet

Eating a diet that’s low in red meat and high in fish, olive oil, whole grains, fruits and vegetables (e.g., Mediterranean Diet) ensures a good balance of all three omegas. 

Note: Those with seizure disorders should consult a doctor before taking omega-6 supplements as there have been reports of these bringing on seizures.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.