What Foods Have Omega 6? 5 Foods to Add to Your Diet
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
- Omega-6 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps blood clot, stimulates hair growth, and supports brain function.
- Foods that are high in omega-6 include walnuts, peanut butter, tofu, and eggs, and you can usually get enough of it through your foods.
- One fatty acid that you may not be getting enough of through your diet is C15:0, an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that supports cellular health. In this case, you can supplement your diet with a product like fatty15.
Although there’s been much debate over the health benefits of omega-6 fatty acids, the final decision in the science community has been that they are essential and beneficial to our diets. Although we’ve spent the past 40 years avoiding all fat, saturated and unsaturated, popular culture is finally catching up with cutting-edge science, and we’re learning that there’s a valid and quantifiable difference between “healthy” and “unhealthy” dietary fatty acids.
To accept this new take on fat, we’ve had to accept that fat is not our enemy. Eliminating fat from our diets was meant to help us avoid heart disease, but the fact is not all fats are created equal, and some can actually help protect our heart, immune, and metabolic health.
The result of eliminating fat from our diets has been pretty unsettling. We’ve witnessed an entire generation raised on “low-fat” foods develop diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and even cardiovascular diseases.
As we begin to reintroduce fats to our diets, it’s important to understand what fats are, how they work, and how they can benefit our bodies. It’s also a great idea to find sources of healthy fats in our foods, so we can be more mindful of incorporating them into our diets.
What Is Omega-6?
Omega-6 is polyunsaturated fat, and one type, linoleic acid, is considered an essential fatty acid. An essential fatty acid is a compound that is required by the body to thrive but cannot be made by the body. As such, we must get these types of fatty acids from our foods. There are four primary types of omega-6 fatty acids. They are:
- Linoleic acid (LA)
- Arachidonic Acid (ARA)
- Gamma linoleic (GLA)
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
Your body does different things with each of these types of omega-6 fatty acids, and not all of them have always been considered “healthy” for us. GLA and CLA, specifically, are considered beneficial to the diet and are potentially helpful in maintaining a healthy body weight. And while ARA and its precursor, LA, were once thought to harm more than help your body, more recent studies have negated that belief.
What are the Benefits of Omega-6?
So we need omega-6, but why? Omega-6 is beneficial to our bodies and has multiple uses by our bodies’ most vital systems. Here are some of the most important reasons why your body needs omega-6 fatty acids.
- Brain function. Your brain needs healthy fatty acids to function. While the most important fatty acid for brain health is omega-3, your brain needs omega-6 as well.
- Normal health and development. Omega-6 helps support hormone health, which keeps your body growing, developing, and changing properly.
- Stimulation of hair and skin growth. Omega-6 helps support healthy skin and hair, and can even help alleviate and soothe skin that has been overexposed to the sun.
- Helps blood clot. Omega-6 helps your blood clot properly, which is really important for helping you heal fast from injuries.
- Maintain bone health. Omega-6 supports healthy bones and teeth, so it’s essential you have omega-6 in your diet to keep your bones and teeth strong, along with calcium and vitamin D.
- Regulate metabolism. Omega-6 helps promote a healthy metabolism, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and feel energized.
What Foods Are High in Omega-6?
There are many foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids, but getting enough of them into your diet can still be a challenge. The recommended amount of omega-6 fatty acid for adult men and women per day is anywhere from 11 to 22 grams based on a 2,000-calorie diet. It can be difficult to get the proper amount unless you’re consciously aware of what foods include omega-6. Here’s our list of the top 9 foods that contain omega-6 and taste delicious, too.
Walnuts. A great way to add a little omega-6 to your diet is by tossing a handful of walnuts into your morning oats or sprinkling them on your salad. Walnuts are both delicious and packed with not only omega-6 but also other vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
Tofu. Vegan friends, rejoice. You can ensure you’re getting the right amount of omega-6 in your diet by doubling up on your favorite meat protein alternative. While tofu might not be considered delicious straight from its packaging, this is by far one of the most versatile foods available in terms of methods of preparing it. Tofu can be baked, grilled, fried, marinated, and even blended into smoothies and sauces.
Hemp seeds/hemp oil. No, it isn’t marijuana! Hemp seeds and the oil that is cold-pressed from them are simply the seed parts of the cannabis-sativa plant. These seeds contain a large dose of omega-6 and are completely non-psychoactive. Hemp oil provides a mild flavor when used for cooking, and the seeds are great as a snack or sprinkled on salads and green vegetables.
Peanut butter. No more feeling guilty about those midnight spoonfuls. Peanut butter is packed with omega-6, protein, and healthy doses of vitamin E and niacin.
Eggs. Another incredibly versatile food in terms of cooking style and method, eggs provide protein, omega-6, and riboflavin.
Some vegetable oils. Some oils like sunflower oil and safflower oil are high in omega-6. These may provide options for cooking and baking oils like canola or olive oil. Although soybean oil and corn oil also contain omega-6, these aren’t generally considered healthful options. In America, our diet usually contains plenty of omega-6, and using these oils could cause negative health impacts.
Sunflower seeds. Just like the oil, sunflower seeds also contain omega-6. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of zinc and selenium, two minerals your body needs to help support your immune system.
Flaxseeds. These seeds contain both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6. They also contain thiamine, a B vitamin that helps regulate your body’s energy.
Chia seeds. Chia seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 and also contain plant-based protein. They’re also packed with fiber which can help support your digestive and colon health.
Once you become familiar with which foods contain omega-6 fatty acids, it’s easy to incorporate them into your meals. Many of these foods make excellent main dishes or work well as an accompaniment to other foods.
Is Omega-6 as Beneficial as Omega-3?
We know some omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential. There are three omega-3 fatty acids. They are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Of these, only ALA is considered essential. This may make you wonder whether you should focus on getting more omega-3 fatty acids or omega-6. It’s worth noting that most Western diets have a higher ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3. That means you’re probably already getting more than enough omega-6 through the foods you eat.
When our ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS) has a higher ratio of omega-6 and a higher omega-3 ratio, our risk for chronic disease increases. This is because having too much omega-6 compared to omega-3 has been associated with pro-inflammatory markers in our bodies.
Unless your doctor or healthcare provider has advised you to consume more omega-6 foods, you can focus on consuming foods that are rich in omega-3. Some of the best sources of omega-3 come from fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon.
Benefits of Omega-3
If only one omega-3 fatty acid is essential, is it really beneficial enough for us to need it? It’s been the long-standing favored fatty acid supplement of many, so let’s look at some of the benefits of omega-3.
- Mood booster. Although it isn’t approved as a standalone treatment for anxiety or depression, taking omega-3supplements could help elevate your mood. Researchers have found that people who regularly supplement with omega-3 have fewer occurrences of mood disorders than people who do not take omega-3.
- Improved blood pressure. If that yearly physical is turning up some unpleasant numbers, you might consider taking omega-3. Supporting healthy blood pressure is a reason why many people begin taking omega-3, although it won’t be a substitute for your blood pressure medication if you’re already taking it.
- Heart health. In addition to blood pressure, omega-3has been linked to protecting against metabolic syndrome, a cluster of diseases that could elevate your chances of developing heart disease. Foods high in omega-3 are often associated with a heart-healthy diet.
- Antioxidants.Omega-3 is a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect your body against free radical damage. Free radicals are unbalanced molecules that damage healthy cells. Antioxidants work to protect cells by offering up one of their electrons to the free radical.
Our body makes free radicals in response to external stressors like UV rays, cigarette smoke, and even pollution.
Are Fatty Acids the Best Way To Support My Health?
While consuming omega-3 fats and increasing your intake of omega-6 may provide some health benefits, it won’t solve all your health problems for you overnight.
Here are some other things you can do to support a healthy lifestyle:
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Your body weight is important, and carrying excess weight can place you at risk for certain negative health markers. Weight loss is challenging but not impossible. Meeting with a nutritionist can help you determine where you can eliminate excess calories in your diet without creating a dietary deficiency.
- Add in some exercise. Physical activity plays an important role in your total wellness. Getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per day is essential for aging healthfully and supporting a healthy body.
- Avoid lifestyle habits that could rob you of your health. Smoking, skipping sleep, and drinking alcohol in excess can cause a decline in your health. Avoid these activities to help support a healthier you.
- Stay hydrated. Most of us don’t drink enough water. Staying hydrated is essential to helping our bodies function properly. Aim for six to eight glasses of water per day to keep you hydrated. Add more if you work out in hot conditions that cause you to sweat a lot.
In addition, there’s a new fatty acid on the block that you should know about and consider adding to your health stack.
How Else Can I Get Essential Fatty Acids?
It’s always a great option to get your fatty acids from the foods you eat, but sometimes your diet or food intolerances may prohibit your ability to obtain the amount of the dietary supplement you need. For instance, many nuts are great sources of omega-6, but if you have a nut allergy, you won’t be able to obtain your recommended daily allowance of omega-6 from a nut or nut product.
In these cases, or if you just aren’t sure you’ll be consistent in getting your necessary vitamins, minerals, and essential fats from your food, you can turn to supplements.
Supplements can be a great way to get essential fatty acids, including C15:0, a fatty acid that evidence supports is a critical nutrient our bodies need to sustain good health. In fact, a growing body of science supports that C15:0 is the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years.*
What Is C15:0?
C15:0 is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid found in whole dairy products (whole milk, full-fat butter). C15:0 is different from even-chain saturated fats (such as C16:0) in the way your body breaks it down. Extensive studies support that odd-chain saturated fatty acids (including C15:0) are good for your body, while even-chain saturated fatty acids are associated with inflammation, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Unfortunately, outdated health guidelines don’t discriminate between different types of saturated fatty acids and are yet to catch up with emerging science supporting the actual health benefits of some saturated fats, like C15:0.
C15:0 has been linked to numerous health benefits, but the most astounding property of this fatty acid appears to be its ability to support cellular health in a manner that can help protect your cells against aging-related breakdown. Here are some of the science-backed health benefits of C15:0:*†
- C15:0 provides cell membrane support.As we age, our cell membranes can become fragile. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that fortifies cell membranes to keep them resilient and functioning properly, protecting them against premature breakdown.
- C15:0 promotes mitochondrial health. You likely remember studying mitochondria in elementary school. These organelles inside your cells are the powerhouses which create cellular energy. When we age, our mitochondria become sluggish, which can leave us feeling sluggish, too. C15:0 supports mitochondrial function to keep them working (and us, energized).
- C15:0 supports balanced immunity and healthy metabolism. Getting older means our cells get out of balance, and that can leave our immunity and metabolism unbalanced too. By naturally activating receptors throughout our body that regulate immunity and metabolism (including helping us maintain healthy glucose and cholesterol levels), C15:0 can help bring our bodies back into proper balance.
C15:0 and Aging
Aging healthfully starts in the cells. As we learn more about how this fatty acid works, we also understand how beneficial and essential it is to help our cells (and, by extension, our bodies) age healthfully. New research has proven that C15:0 actually helps reverse cellular aging.*
C15:0 reverses cellular aging by:*
Clearing damaged cells. C15:0 helps activate AMPK, which is essential for helping clear out damaged cells and ensuring healthy cells can function.
Regulating inflammatory response. Proinflammatory cytokines are a force behind aging, and C15:0 responds by calming and lowering their levels.
Increasing cellular energy. ATP is energy currency in your body. Your cells rely on this molecule for cellular function. C15:0 has been linked to an increase in cellular ATP levels of up to 350%.
Activating AMPK. AMPK is required for glucose updates and for supporting the immune system and helping keep it balanced. C15:0 helps restore regulation to numerous bodily systems and functions by activating AMPK.
How Can I Get C15:0 in My Diet?
Because we’ve spent the past four decades demonizing saturated fat, chances are you aren’t getting much C15:0 in your diet. That’s okay; there is a solution. Fatty15 is the first and only pure powder C15:0 supplement available, and you can have it delivered right to your doorstep. Fatty15 is:
- Vegan-friendly. No animal products or byproducts, ever.
- Dietary allergen-free (no dairy, soy, gluten, oil, or anything else).
- Colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Some healthy fatty acid supplements leave you with an unpleasant taste in your mouth (we’re looking at you, fish oil), but not fatty15.
- Contains one ingredient. Fatty15 contains only the pure, powder form of C15:0 (aka FA15).
- Sustainable. We care about the planet, too. Fatty15 and its packaging is sustainable, down to the bamboo lid on the reusable glass bottle.
If you’re ready to give your cells a fighting chance, Fatty15 is here to help. Age on your own terms by starting to protect your health on the cellular level.*
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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