Before we discuss foods that have linoleic acid, let's understand what linoleic acid is and how its intake benefits us. Linoleic acid is one of those essential fatty acids that must be ingested by us from external or dietary sources as although our bodies need it to properly perform various physiological functions, they cannot synthesize it on its own. Linoleic acid belongs to the carboxylic acid group and its chemical structure is composed of an 18-carbon chain along with two E-Z isomeric double bonds. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid and is mostly found in the lipids that are present in membranes of organic cells. As far as dietary sources are concerned, linoleic acid is most ubiquitous in vegetable oils and seed oils. Now, why is the consumption of linoleic acids essential? Well, a deficiency of linoleic acid is directly associated with such physical conditions as dry skin, brittle hair, difficulty in healing of wounds, hair loss, etc.

Linoleic Acid Food Sources

Before I list out the various linoleic acid-rich foods for you, let me share some interesting information with you. Studies conducted regarding linoleic acid's curative and healing abilities have shown evidence that a healthy intake of foods having high linoleic acid content can prevent/cure/relieve certain ailments and adverse biological conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes and dermatitis. The positive relationship between consuming the right amounts of conjugated linoleic acid and weight loss have been well established by researchers and dietitians. You see, when people consider dieting for losing weight, they tend to abolish all fats from their diets. However, studies have proven that taking the right fats, usually the unsaturated fats, actually do more benefit than harm. In fact, banishing the right fats, like conjugated linoleic acids, actually pour cold water over a person's weight loss efforts. As mentioned before, the best dietary sources of linoleic acid are vegetable oil and oil extracted from oilseeds. Continuing in this note, here is a list of foods high in linoleic acid that are a must for good health and overall well-being.

Vegetable, Nuts and Oilseed Oils
  • Coconut Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • Macadamia Oil
  • Poppy-seed Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Hemp Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Linseed Oil
  • Cotton Seed Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Pistachio Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Rice Bran Oil
  • Flax Seed Oil
Besides the oil, the nuts and seeds, when eaten whole, are also a good source of linoleic acids.

Fats and Butters
  • Butter
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Lard
  • Chicken Fat
  • Margarine
Other Food Sources
  • Egg Yolk
  • Lamb
  • Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, kale, etc.
  • Spirulina
  • Soy, tofu and tempeh
  • Beef
  • Milk
Among the above list of linoleic acid foods, milk, lamb and beef are good conjugated sources of linoleic acid. Laboratory experiments conducted on mice and rats involving conjugated linoleic acid has proven that it has the ability to stunt the growth of tumors, especially in the colon, mammary glands and skin. Do you know what that means? It is a clear indication that conjugated linoleic acid is a potential anti-carcinogenic agent which may be the answer for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, skin cancer and colon cancer! The mechanism of action is believed to be this fatty acid's role as an up-regulator of the PTPRG gene which is responsible for suppressing tumors and cancerous growths within the body. As far as it's role as a catalyst in weight loss is concerned, conjugated linoleic acid is potentially effective in improving abdominal firmness.

As much as linoleic acid foods may be beneficial to our biologies, too much of a good thing can get naughty with your system. Some common conjugated linoleic acid side effects include diarrhea, nausea, increased blood sugar levels, heartburn, dipping HDL cholesterol levels, rashes, hives and itchy skin. One of the most serious side effects is aggravated insulin resistance leading to an increased risk of diabetes. The key is to maintain a balance of linoleic acid foods in tandem with food sources containing various other nutrients. Remember, your body needs all of them - vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats - so you need to make sure you allocate an appropriate proportion of your diet to each of these nutrients without overdoing any at the cost of inviting a deficiency of the others.