How Much Omega 3 Is In Olive Oil?

Almost everyone is familiar with the benefits that olive oil offers. But, what are the constituents that make it such a good oil? Let’s dive deep!

Since long we have all heard certain olive oil claims. Olive oil has been linked to many benefits like protection against inflammation, heart diseases, breast cancer as well as type 2 diabetes [1]. One of the major reasons why Olive oil has such a huge preference is due to its contents and benefits. When it comes to determining the Omega content in olive oil the ratio of omega 6 and Omega 3 is 10:1. Well, to find out more, read on.

Does Olive Oil Contain Omega-3?

The term “omega” indicates which carbon has the primary covalent bond on the carbon chain. Olive oil is primarily extracted from the olives, a fruit from the fruit tree. The oil contains approximately 73% of mono-saturated fat, known as oleic acid, considered comparatively healthier fat. The rest comprises around 14% saturated fat and 11% polyunsaturated fat of the total fatty acid content. 

This polyunsaturated fat in olive oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

How Much Omega 3 Does Olive Oil Contain?

Omega 3’s are preferred the highest when our concern involves heart health.

The more omega 3’s, the better your heart health. Olive oil is on average 10% linoleic acid (an omega-6 oil) and less than 1% linolenic acid (an omega-3 oil); therefore, the ratio is 10:1 on average. The omega-3 content is around 1% of the total fat content in olive oil. Omega-3 is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties and is vital for preventing cardiovascular diseases [2].

Which Oil Is Highest In Omega-3?

Flaxseed oil contains a 3rd plant-based omega-3, omega-3 fatty acid (ALA). Flaxseed oil is the richest source at about 7 grams measured per tablespoon. The main feature of flaxseed oil is that it exceeds all known vegetable oils in omega-3: the proportion of omega-3 in flaxseed oil is 49 per cent [3]. For example, in olive oil – 1% omega-3, in safflower oil – only 0.5 per cent omega-3.

Moreover, linseed oil is ten times superior to fish oil in terms of omega-3! Other foods (such as walnuts, mostly) and oils (such as canola and soybean, for example) contain ALA. However, the flaxseed oils are just a backup, not a substitute, for olive oil because of the conversion factor.

So, we can say that flaxseed oil does contain omega-3 fats. But they are not of the best kind.

Is Olive Oil Omega-6 or Omega-3?

Before jumping into the answer, let’s take a brief look at what exactly omega-3 and omega-6 are. Omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) have a carbon-carbon double bond located in three carbons from the methyl end of the chain. For omega 6, the primary covalent bond is on the sixth carbon from the omega end [4]. Olive oil contains around 10% omega-6 and 1% omega-3. Considering the percentages, it is mostly omega-6. If you have been looking for omega-3 content, olive oil is not a great option.

Is Olive Oil The Best Source Of Omega-3?

The physical body can make most of the fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. But unfortunately, that isn’t the case with omega-3 fatty acids. Certain essential fats cannot be made in your body. Hence such healthy fats must be absorbed from food. 

Olive oil is the natural oil extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. The predominant fatty acid present in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. It takes about 73% of the total oil content. Studies suggest that monounsaturated fatty acid reduces inflammation [5]. They even have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer [6].

Monounsaturated fats are also resistant to high heat, thus making extra virgin olive oil a healthy choice for cooking. But even healthier fats like those present in olive oil are high in calories, so we recommend you to use them in moderation.

What Makes Omega-3 Fats Unique?

Omega 3 forms an integral part of cell membranes throughout your body and affects the function of the cell receptors in the membranes. They provide the start line for creating hormones that regulate blood coagulation, contraction and relaxation of the artery walls present, and inflammation [7]. They also serve as binding receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Hence, omega-3 fats can help prevent heart diseases as well as strokes. Moreover, it may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis. Omega 3 may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions as well. 

What Is The Ratio Of Omega 3 & Omega 6 In Olive Oil?

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 present in olive oil is 10:1. Also, a diet high in omega-6s but low in omega-3s can lead to an increase in inflammation. A diet that includes balanced amounts of each can efficiently reduce inflammation and promote metabolism. Olive oil is considered a thermic food, meaning food that can speed up metabolism.

11 Benefits Of Olive Oil

Olive oil offers a long wholesome list of benefits. Let us have a look at some of the important ones.

  • Rich In Healthy Monounsaturated Fats
  • Contains Large Amounts Of Antioxidants[8]
  • Has Strong Anti-Inflammatory Properties
  • Helps Prevent Strokes
  • Protective Against Heart Disease
  • Not Associated With Weight Gain And Obesity
  • May Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
  • May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk
  • Has Anti-Cancer Properties
  • Helps Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis[9]
  • Has Antibacterial Properties

7 Ways To Use Olive Oil

You can use olive oil in several ways such as:

  • Drizzling olive oil on a salad or adding it to a dressing
  • Drizzling olive oil on a freshly made bread
  • Using olive oil when making bread
  • Using olive oil instead of other fats when frying or sautéing
  • Using olive oil to make spaghetti 

Dangers of using vegetable oil

If you have been using vegetable oil because you think that it’s healthy, it’s time to re-evaluate. Especially in people with diabetes, which usually causes damage to vessel linings, the effect of vegetable oil could worsen an already dangerous condition. When overheated, they can form various harmful compounds, including lipid peroxides and aldehydes, contributing to cancer.

Further, when cooked, these oils release some carcinogenic compounds that may contribute to lung cancer when inhaled.


Is olive oil bad for you?

Olive oil is considered suitable for cooking due to its never-ending benefits. Olive oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants and has been linked to improved skin moisturization, anti-ageing effects, and relief from sun damage. They are even conducive to hair growth. It helps boost hair growth, prevents hair loss, and makes hair cuticles smooth and shiny. 

Is consuming too much olive oil bad for you?

Consuming a lot of olive oil can lead to weight gain and obesity and poor heart health. Over-consumption of olive oil can cause a massive fall in blood pressure and lead to problems like dizziness, lightheadedness, stroke, and even kidney failure. Eating too many saturated fats can also increase your cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol.

Is olive oil fattening?

Olive oil is rich in healthy fats like MUFA (Monounsaturated fatty acids). Around 1 ml olive oil has 8 grams of calories, increasing your fat intake and calorie intake. It is always advisable to take olive oil in moderate amounts. 

Wrapping Up

About 14% of olive oil is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil has 10% linoleic acid (an omega-6 oil) and less than 1% linolenic acid (an omega-3 oil), therefore the ratio is 10:1. The omega3 in olive oil is beneficial for cardiovascular health, skin health, and is protective against cancer and diabetes. Let us know how you’ve included this wonderful cooking oil into your diet.


  1. Gaforio, José J et al., “Virgin Olive Oil and Health: Summary of the III International Conference on Virgin Olive Oil and Health Consensus Report, JAEN (Spain) 2018.” Nutrients (2019),
  2. Estruch, Ramón et al. ,“Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 368,14 (2013), 1279-90. 
  3. Goyal, Ankit et al. ,“Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food.” Journal of food science and technology vol. 51,9 (2014), 1633-53. 
  4. Simopoulos, Artemis P. ,“An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity.” Nutrients (2016), 
  5. Basu, Arpita et al. ,“Dietary factors that promote or retard inflammation.” Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology (2006), 995-1001. 
  6. Menendez, Javier A, and Ruth Lupu. ,“Mediterranean dietary traditions for the molecular treatment of human cancer: anti-oncogenic actions of the main olive oil’s monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid (18:1n-9).” Current pharmaceutical biotechnology (2006), 495-502. 
  7. Konstantinidou, Valentini et al. ,“In vivo nutrigenomic effects of virgin olive oil polyphenols within the frame of the Mediterranean diet: a randomized controlled trial.” FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2010), 2546-57. 
  8. Owen, R W et al. ,“Olives and olive oil in cancer prevention.” European journal of cancer prevention : the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP) (2004), 319-26.
  9. Kremer, J M et al. ,“Dietary fish oil and olive oil supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical and immunologic effects.” Arthritis and rheumatism (1990), 810-20.
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