Our food must contain certain essential oils which our bodies cannot make for ourselves. We should aim for a balanced diet containing all types of oils - the ideal balance for each of us depends on our individual physiology, how lacking we are in essential oils and how this has affected us. We also need certain co-factors (vitamins and minerals) to digest and use the oils effectively. If you are seeking to treat a health problem, always consult a qualified medical practitioner.
Seed oil content and composition can vary widely with plant variety and growing conditions. The information here gives average values, where data sources vary.
The essential oils, linoleic acid LA and gamma linolenic acid GLA (omega 6's), and alpha linolenic acid ALA or LNA (omega 3), deteriorate rapidly if processed or stored badly, so if you buy the oil rather than the seed, always check that it has been both processed and stored away from heat, light and air. If you buy toasted seed (sesame snaps for example), only count about one tenth of their raw omega 3 or 6 content towards your diet.
Oleic acid OA (omega 9) is not so essential, is stable under air/light/heat, and is common in Western foods.
General information on the essential oils in our diet, including recipes.
Detailed information on seeds and their oils:
I built the database here for my own use, but its accuracy is not guaranteed! You would be wise to double-check before believing what it tells you. If you are seeking to treat a health problem, always consult a qualified medical practitioner.
The information comes from three sources:
Nutrition Matters - Independent professional advice, information and services.
If you have any comments, new information, etc. please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Updated 2 Feb 2009