Polyunsaturated - Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are found in fish, cold pressed and virgin vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. These play a vital part in healthy brain function. The body breaks down the fats and oils we eat into fatty acids and can make some fatty acids from other substances, but it can't make polyunsaturated fatty acids so we must get them from food.
There are two main types of EFAs: omega-3, found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and some plant seed oils, such as flax seed oil and rapeseed oil; and omega-6, mainly found in plant seed oils such as sunflower oil, corn oil, and sesame oil, as well as meat. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are needed for the brain an nervous system to function properly. Omega-3 oils are anti-inflammatory.
Monounsaturated (omega-9) - is found in extra virgin or cold pressed olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. These lower LDL cholesterol and are anti-inflammatory playing a vital role in brain function.
Getting the right balance between the two types of EFAs is important. Too much omega-6 can be problematic to the body's ability to break down omega-3 fats and, along with prolonged stress, can trigger inflammation. This hampers the body's ability to make serotonin from tyrptophan. Low serotonin levels are linked to fibromyalgia. I eat a banana a day to keep those levels up!
Long chain - such as eicospentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)- found in oily fish, especially mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards, salmon and FRESH tuna.
Short chain - for example, alpha-linoeleic acid (ALA) - found in flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, wholegrains, wheatgerm and soy beans.
Note: If your intake of these foods is low, experts recommend choosing a supplement containing at least 500-600 mg of EPA/DHA. I use fish oil supplements from Puritan. There are several different types to choose from on the site.