Harvard Heart Letter

No need to avoid healthy omega-6 fats

Omega-6 fats from vegetable oils — like their cousins, the omega-3 fats from fish — are good for the heart.

Omega, the final letter of the Greek alphabet, is often used to signify the last of something, or the end. When applied to dietary fats, though, omega represents a healthy beginning. Two families of polyunsaturated fats, the omega-3 and the omega-6 fats, are good for the heart and the rest of the body.

The terms omega-3 and omega-6 don't signify anything mystical. Instead, they describe the position of the first carbon-carbon double bond in the fat's backbone. This influences the shape of a fat molecule which, in turn, affects its function in the body.

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