25 Foods High in Omega 6

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People have conflicting thoughts about Omega 6. Some would suggest it is an essential fatty acid and others would tag omega 6 as a major cause for cardiovascular problems and diseases. The truth lies somewhere in between, and recent research has pointed out the omega 3:omega 6 ratio as a measure for cardiovascular risk, instead of pointing omega 6 as the bad guy. Linoleic acid (different from alpha linoleic acid) and Arachidonic acid, members of the omega 6 family, are essential fatty acids that support brain function, our reproductive health, bone health and even hair growth. Some hormones are also made out of omega 6 fatty acids. But when they cross certain levels of concentrations, omega 6 stop showing benefits and starts behaving as risk factors.

There is currently no strong evidence for a minimum intake of linoleic and arachidonic acid, but the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids recommends that 2% of our daily total calories be based on Omega 6 fats. This means around 4.4g in a model diet of 2,000 calories. The optimal ratio would be to consume the same amount of omega 3 and 6 (1:1), and since concentrations of omega 3 fats are considerably lower in foods, omega 6 sources should be consumed with caution. With this in mind, what are the foods with the most Omega 6 distribution and how should we handle them? Here we have a list of 25 foods high in omega 6 fats:

  1. Safflower oil
    Safflower oil has the advantage of being tasteless and not interfering in cooking flavors, but has the highest registered amount of Omega 6 fats among oil choices, which is 10,4 g mg per tablespoon (14g)
     
  2. Grape seed oil
    It has a small amount of Vitamin E with antioxidant properties, but also has 9,7 g of Omega 6 per tablespoon (14g).
     
  3. Sunflower oil
    A vegetable oil commonly used to cook, which holds 9,1 g of Omega 6 per tablespoon (14g).
     
  4. Corn oil
    Made from corn kernels, it is pleasant-tasting and even though it has no vitamins, corn oil has a small amount of tocopherols with activity similar to vitamin E. One tablespoon has 7,4 g of Omega 6.
     
  5. Wheat germ oil
    One option that should be avoided by those who suffer from gluten allergy, wheat germ oil contains 7,6 g of Omega 6 per tablespoon (14g).
     
  6. Soybean oil
    It is one of the most widely used for cooking. It is extracted from soybean seeds and has 7 g of Omega 6 per tablespoon (14g).
     
  7. Mayonnaise
    It’s commonly used for dressings, but should be used carefully, taking into consideration it has 5,4 g of Omega 6 per tablespoon (14g).
     
  8. Caesar Dressing
    A commonly used dressing in salads. Caesar dressing contains 4,3 g of Omega per tablespoon (14g), and similar values are found in other types of dressing.
     
  9. Margarine
    Used for cooking and as a substitute of butter. Margarine is the less healthy version of butter and contains 3,3 g of Omega 6 per tablespoon (14g).
     
  10. Processed cheese
    As it happens with processed foods, the amount of Omega 6 fats is increased in processed cheese if we compare with other options. It has 5,5 g of Omega 6 per 3oz (85g).
     
  11. Walnuts
    As many other nuts and seeds, walnuts have a high content in Omega 6 fats (9,5g per ounce), but a special comment should be made because they also have importantcontents of fiber and a healthier omega3 to omega6 ratio when compared to other foods.
     
  12. Onion rings
    Fast foods are another important source of disproportionately high Omega 6 levels. Onion rings serve as an example as they have 10 g of Omega 6 per small serving (91g), and the amount varies between brands and fast food products.
     
  13. Pork Ham
    Among lunch meats, pork ham has the highest content in Omega 6. It is around 5,3 g per 3oz (85g).
     
  14. Turkey Bacon
    Usually sold as a lower-fat bacon, turkey bacon still contains high amounts of Omega 6 fats, calculated in 5,3 g per 3oz (85g).
     
  15. Sausage
    One of the most commonly used lunch meats, usually containing a mixture of ground meat, salt, and spices. Nutritional values depends on the brand but it can contain 3,5 g of Omega 6 per 3oz (85g).
     
  16. Ground pork: Ground pork meat can be used in many dishes such as breakfast casserole, and has 3,3 g of Omega 6 per 3oz (85g).
     
  17. Chicken wings: Chicken has almost the same content of Omega 6. But if we ever wondered, chicken wings have the highest content of Omega 6, around 3,8 g per 3oz (85g).
     
  18. Chicken thighs
    They have a somewhat less content in Omega 6 than chicken wings, measured in 3,1 g per 3oz (85g).
     
  19. Lamb
    Another popular meat option, lamb has been thought to be healthier than other meat options. It has 3,3 g of Omega 6 per 3oz (85g).
     
  20. Pork Salami
    A popular type of cured sausage which is fermented, air-dried, and widely used as a pizza topping. It has 2,7 g of Omega 6 per 3oz (85g).
     
  21. Spareribs
    Which one has more Omega 6 fats? The answer is pork ribs. Spareribs contain 2,7 g of Omega 6 per 3oz (85g).
     
  22. Beef ribs
    Leaner than pork ribs, they provide a lower intake of Omega 6 fatty acids, still a bit high, around 1,7 g per 3oz (85g).
     
  23. Chocolate chip cookies
    Another rich source of Omega 6 are some types of sweets, especially processed chocolate chip cookies, with 2 g of Omega 6 per unit.
     
  24. Brownies
    It depends on brands and ingredients, but some processed brownies contain up to 8,4 g of Omega 6 per unit.
     
  25. Puff pastry
    Delicious in so many ways, puff pastry is a type of sweet usually seen in the dessert table on many special occasions. But take into consideration it may contain 7,8 g of Omega 6 per unit.

References:

  1. Dunbar, B. S., Bosire, R. V., & Deckelbaum, R. J. (2014). Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in human and animal health: an African perspective. Molecular and cellular endocrinology398(1), 69-77.
     
  2. All values taken from .