The nutrient known as omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in physical growth and development, as well as in brain function. Together with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids help to maintain the health of bones, stimulate hair and skin growth, maintain and support the body’s reproductive system and regulate the metabolism. Omega-6 fatty acids are also referred to as PUFAs, or polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Omega-6 is classified as an essential fatty acid. It is essential for the health of the human body; however, it can’t be made by humans. Omega-6 must be introduced to the body through foods that are rich in this essential nutrient. Luckily, most Americans typically consume an adequate, if not over abundance of omega-6 fatty acids. Because omega-6 can act as an inflammatory agent, it is important to maintain a balanced diet of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as omega-3 fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent and will counteract the inflammation caused by the excess omega-6 fatty acids. Read on for a list of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids.
By far, the most abundant source of omega-6 fatty acids are the oils typically used for cooking such as: safflower, grapeseed, vegetable, wheat germ, corn, sunflower, cottonseed and walnut. The oil highest in omega-6 is safflower with 10.1 grams per 1 tablespoon serving, which translates to 151% of the U.S. RDA. One of the most commonly used cooking oils in the United States is vegetable oil, which contains 7.9 grams of omega-6, for a total of 118% of the RDA. The oil on this list that is lowest in omega-6 is sunflower with just 5.4 grams, which translates to 81% of the RDA of omega-6 fatty acid. Most of these oils weigh in at approximately 14 grams of fat per tablespoon and offer little nutrition other than fats and fatty acids.
Beef is another intense source of omega-6 fatty acids. A 6-ounce serving of a porterhouse cut of steak will provide almost 1.1 grams. This serving of steak will offer 16% of the daily RDA of omega-6 along with a healthy dose of 23 grams of protein and 15% of the recommended daily allowance of iron.
A one ounce serving of egg yolk, roughly the amount found in one grade A large egg, will yield 991 milligrams of omega-6. Keeping in mind that the U.S. RDA for omega-6 fatty acids is 6.7 grams, that is roughly 15% of the recommended daily amount. One whole egg, including the egg white, is a great source of protein with 6 grams of protein per serving and also offers a small amount of calcium, iron and vitamin A. Eggs should be eaten in moderation due to their high level of cholesterol. One large egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol, which is a whopping 71% of the RDA.
Photo Credit: “Sunflower Oil”
Photo Credit: “Steak”
Photo Credit: “Egg Yolks”