Nutrient Food Sources


Omega 3 and 6

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are both ‘essential fatty acids’ because they must be obtained from the diet.  Both types have health benefits that range from aiding fertility, heart health, healthy blood pressure, skin health and mental health.

The omega 6 to omega 3 ratio in the diet should be between 4:1 if possible. Vegetarians are likely to have a much higher ratio of the plant based omega 6 oils than the omega 3 oils (that are mainly found in oily fish). Some plant foods such as walnuts, flax and pumpkin seeds contain omega 3 oils, but alongside omega 6.  To obtain any omega 3 therefore vegetarians normally have to consume a much higher ration of omega 6.  This can essentially present itself as an omega 3 oil deficiency with symptoms such as depression, dry skin, inflammatory health problems, high blood pressure, tingling in the arms or legs, being prone to infections, finding weight loss difficult or memory decline.

Food Source % Omega-3 oils % Omega-6 oils
Almond None 17
Avocado None 10
Brazil nut None 32
Cashew None 6
Chia seed 30 40
Corn None 59
Flax seed (linseed) 58 14
Hemp seed 20 60
Macadamia None 10
Olive None 8
Peanut None 29
Pecan None 20
Pistachio None 19
Pumpkin seed 0-15 42-57
Rice bran 1 35
Safflower None 75
Sesame seed None 45
Soya Bean 7 50
Sunflower seed None 65
Walnut 5 51
Wheatgerm 5 50


Source: Udo Erasmus, Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, Alive Books 1993