Certain positional isomers of polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the essential fatty acids that the human body needs for metabolic functioning but cannot produce themselves and therefore must be acquired from the diet. The beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids are related to brain development, coronary heart disease (CHD), cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, mental health, and neurodegenerative disorders. The essential omega-3 fatty acid is α-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3ω3), found in green leafy vegetables and in the seeds of flax, rape, chia, and walnuts. The essential omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid (LA; 18:2ω6), is plentiful in nature and being found in the seeds of many edible plants. There are at least hundred species of plants occurring in wild or cultivated from forest areas that may be a source of vegetable oil. These vegetable oils are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are highly beneficial for human health.
Part of the book: The Health Benefits of Foods