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What are essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids)?

Daphne Oz
Health Education
Your body can synthesize its own fats from the carbohydrates you eat, as it needs to. The only fats it cannot make are certain unsaturated ones, which you have to get from food. These are called essential fatty acids (EFA) or omega fats. EFAs are sometimes classified as omega-3s or omega-6s. (EFAs must be provided in the diet -- the body cannot make them.) Omega-3s are the best for maintaining lean muscles, and waistlines, and can be found in flax products (including flaxseed oil or crushed flaxseeds) and in fatty cold-water fish, such as salmon, Chilean sea bass, and cod. Omega-3s should be consumed in equal proportion to omega-6s, but our society consumes about ten times more omega-6s, found in vegetable oils such as soybean and sunflower, which can result in water retention and weight gain.
The Dorm Room Diet: The 10-Step Program for Creating a Healthy Lifestyle Plan That Really Works

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.