The body can get the majority of the fats it needs from your diet.
However, there are two types of fat that your body cannot make on its own. These fats are called essential fatty acids, and are made up of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid.
They must be obtained via food.
These basic fats, found naturally in different foods, are used to build specialized fats called omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important because they are a part of the normal functioning of all tissues in your body (source).
You can easily add more of these essential fatty acids into your diet by eat more of the food items listed below.
Best Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Foods (Linolenic Acid)
•Flaxseed oil (which is the most omega-3 rich food on the planet)
Cold water fish with low mercury levels; this includes Atlantic mackerel,salmon, cod, haddock, mackerel, shad, herring, and mahi mahi, and anchovies
•Hempseed oil, hempseeds,
•Nuts, such as walnuts and Brazil nuts
•Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens
Omega-3’s are the most important essential fatty acid as they help with reducing inflammation. Most American tend to eat low amounts of omega-3 rich foods. Add more of these foods to your diet to help balance out your omega-3:omega-6 ratio!
Best Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acid Foods (Linoleic Acid)
•Flaxseeds (oil, flaxseed meal, etc..)
•Hulled sesame seeds
•Nuts (such as pistachios)
•Evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil
Palm, rapeseed, soybean, and sunflower oils are also sources of linoleic acid, but are refined and may be deficient in other important nutrients. We recommend consuming less omega-6 foods, as they are pro-inflammatory and most Americans tend to have a high level of omega-6.
When you do consume omega-6’s, make sure to do so through natural foods options listed above (and stay away from processed oils).
As stated above, Americans tend to eat high amounts of omega-6's, while eating omega sixes benefits your body, eating too much can lead to issues. We recommend trying to have a 2:1 omega-6:omega-3 ratio.
Best Omega-9 Essential Fatty Acid Foods (Oleic Acid)
Our bodies can make omega-9, so it technically isn’t considered an "essential fatty acid". However, foods rich in oleic acid (the fat in omega-9's) are still recommended because of the role it plays in overall health.
Food that contain omega-9 include:
•Extra virgin olive oil
Make sure to consume these healthful foods and get enough Omega-9's in your diet
The Importance Of Buying High Quality Fats
When buying foods with omegas try and buy organic when possible. The quality of food that you eat plays a major role in your overall health. Fats literally become a part of your cells (fat lines each and every one of the cells in your body).
Needless to say, since fat attaches to you at a cellular level, it's important that you eat quality fats. Stay away from trans fats and other damaging oils used to fry foods in.
You'll also want to make sure that you eat your foods fresh. Fatty acids oxidize easily, so the longer they sit out, the less beneficial they become.