Essential fatty acid (EFA), also known as polyunsaturated fat, is not made by the body, so it is essential to get EFA from food. EFA supports and regulates important body functions in the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems.
The two types of EFAs are:
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in foods from plants like soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed.
Omega-6 fatty acids, which are found mostly in liquid vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil.
Another type of omega-3 fatty acid is found in fatty fish and shellfish as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, Atlantic mackerel, and Pacific mackerel are high in EPA and DHA and lower in mercury.
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & Colleen O'Connor PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian