You’ve heard about Omega-3 fatty acids and maybe even Omega-6s. You might even know that Omega-3s have been shown to support heart health and contribute to a well-balanced diet. Perhaps you’ve read about Omega-6 fatty acids and how they support normal growth and development, and other functions in the body. But did you know that both are types of fat?

I know the tendency is to think of fat as a bad thing, but there are certain types that can be good for you in moderation, such as Omega-3s and Omega-6s. These fats are absolutely essential to health—and appropriately called “essential fats.” The body isn’t able to make these essential fats; you must get enough through diet.



Omega-3 fatty acids are found in food sources like fish, krill and algae. While organizations like the American Heart Association recommend eating fatty fish at least twice per week, many individuals just aren’t able to eat fish that often. As a result, it is common to not get enough critical Omega-3s through diet alone. That’s why I typically recommend an Omega-3 supplement to help fill in those nutritional gaps when they occur.



Omega-6 fatty acids are found predominately in seed oils. Most people get plenty of Omega-6s through diet, especially through soybean oil, which is a common ingredient in processed foods. But while Omega-6s are essential to human health, too much is not a good thing. Plus, many people get their Omega-6s from sources that have other ingredients (saturated fat, refined sugar, etc.) that counterbalance the health benefits of the good fat. A healthy, balanced diet that limits your intake of processed foods is a good start to helping make sure your body is getting enough Omega-6s but not too much.


Getting More Good Fat

The best way to make sure you’re getting plenty of healthy fats is to eat more whole, fresh foods. The Mediterranean diet encourages a good balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s, while limiting meat and processed foods. And, of course, an Omega-3 supplement can be a great complement to a healthy diet.


How do you make sure you’re getting enough essential fats, without overdoing your Omega-6 intake? Please share with me in the comments.