Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6, that are essential for the functioning and growth of the body. They are described as essential as they are an essential part of the diet and cannot be manufactured by biochemical processes in the body.
Essential fatty acids are found in high concentrations in oils such as sunflower, linseed, canola and soy, fish (particularly tuna, salmon and sardines) and nuts (particularly brazil and walnuts). Margarine is usually made from these oils. Increasing the essential fatty acids in the diet reduces the amount of other fats in the body and is therefore beneficial to general health. There is no definitive evidence that such supplements are of any benefit provided the person is eating a well balanced diet.