What fruits and vegetables have omega-3 and omega-6?

fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 are two types of fatty acids classified as essentials. Our body cannot synthesize them and we have to ingest them through the diet. An adequate intake is related to several health benefitsfor example with the improvement of the lipid profile and better cardiovascular health.

It is common to think of foods of animal origin as a source of omega-3 and omega-6, however, the variety of fruits, vegetables and plant sources in general is excellent, so much so that it is quite difficult to consume an adequate amount of these acids fatty not including plant foods in the diet.

Of the omega-3 fatty acids, the truly essential is linolenic acidwhile of the omega-6 is the linoleic acid. From them, our body can synthesize the rest of the fatty acids of each group.

Omega-9 acids are also very important fatty acids associated with health benefits, but they are not classified as strictly essential, since our body can synthesize them.

Omega-3 sources

There are three main types of omega-3:

  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

The foods with the highest content of DHA and EPA are fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, with fish oil being one of the most common dietary supplements of DHA and EPA. For its part, the best sources of ALA are all plant foods:

  • Seeds: Flax seeds have the highest concentration of linolenic acid. Also sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia, flaxseed or hemp. oils from these seeds.
  • Fruits: avocado.
  • Vegetables: pumpkin, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, some dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
  • Nuts: walnuts, Brazil nuts.
  • Spirulina
  • Legumes: they do not have a high concentration, but it contains omeg-3 and omega-6 in good proportion.

Although the only omega-3 classified as truly essential is alpha-linolenic acid, the conversion of ALA into DHA and EPA does not seem to be very efficient, as many studies show, so its inclusion in the diet is recommended by various health organizations and associations, such as the American Heart Foundation which recommends 500 mg of DHA and EPA combined.

But there are very few sources of DHA and EPA, the main ones in marine animals. DHA can also be found in seaweed. In fact, the main source of DHA for fish is algae and phytoplankton. Several vegan associations recommend supplementation with EPA and DHA.

Omega-6 sources

The main omega-6 fatty acid is linoleic acid. The amount of omega-6 that is generally consumed in the diets of today's societies, especially in Western societies, is usually very high, with an omega-6:omega-3 ratio that easily exceeds 10:1.

The high proportion of omega-6 has been related to health problemssuch as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart attacks, obesity, or depression. Among the omega-6:omega-3 ratios suggested as healthy, the most common is 4:1 or lessso it is recommended to increase the proportion of omega-3.

Among the plant foods rich in omega-6 are the same as omega-3, in addition to cereals and most vegetable oils. Among the animal sources, eggs and birds stand out.

Omega-9 sources

Omega-9 fatty acids, unlike omega-3 and omega-6, are not strictly essential fatty acids, because our body can synthesize it. However, some omega-9s, especially oleic acidare recommended by their acquaintances positive health effectsespecially on the lipid profile and cardiovascular health.

Fruits, vegetables, and plant foods in general are also the best source of omega-9 fatty acids. The olives, the olive oilavocados, many nuts, or sesame, are excellent sources of omega-9.

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