Table 2

Fatty acid information for food choices

Foods, ingredients


Fatty acids

Cooking oils, salad dressings and spreads


Canola oil products

ALA (18-carbon n3 PUFA)

Olive oil products



Sunflower, cottonseed, peanut, soybean oil products

LA (18-carbon n-6 PUFA)

Preprepared food such as frozen chips/fries

Nutrient information on the packet will allow a choice of foods prepared in canola or olive oils


Because fish oil is rich in long chain n3 fats, fatty fish (e.g. sardines, herrings) have higher n3 content than lean fish. However, all marine fish contain long chain n3 fats. Canned fish have n3 fat content also, but note that canned tuna has less fat (and therefore less n3 fat) than fresh tuna

EPA (20-carbon n3 PUFA)

DHA (22-carbon n-3 PUFA)

Nuts and seeds

Flaxseed (linseed)

High in n3 PUFAs


Some n3 PUFAs but also n6 PUFAs

Macadamia, almonds

High in MUFA, low in n6 PUFAs

Peanuts, cashews, brazil and hazel nuts

Some MUFA, but also n6 PUFAs

ALA, α-linolenic acid; DHA, docosahexaenoic acid; EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid; LA, linoleic acid; MUFA, monounsaturated fatty acid; OA, oleic acid; PUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acid.

Cleland et al. Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006 8:202   doi:10.1186/ar1876