Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids are fatty acids required but not synthesized by the human body.

The human body needs fatty acids, but not all of them can be synthesized by our body - for examples: omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for health and can only be obtained through the diet.

Foods high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are vegetables, oils, seeds, nuts, fish, and other seafood.

There are two bowls. One bowl contains yellow oil. The other bowl contains seeds.

Figure 1 Seeds and oils are high in omega-3 and omega-6


  • Rolfes,S. Understanding normal and clinical nutrition 8th ed. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2009.