Squalene: Understanding the compound and its many health benefits

“In India, cardiovascular issues are the leading cause of death. About 75 per cent of deaths take place due to heart-related issues resulting from raised blood pressure and poor diet. Not consuming a balanced diet full of green leafy vegetables and fruits can cause this. It becomes essential that we pay attention to what we are consuming,” says Dr Praveen Jacob, Senior Consultant, TheLifekart.in.

This is where squalene comes to help as our modern lifestyle has completely modified our eating habits for the worse, he says.

“Squalene is a 100 per cent natural compound that is proven to have anti-cancerous, anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties besides helping the human body with the synthesis of cholesterol, steroid hormones and vitamin D,” the expert says.

What is squalene?

Squalene is present in small amounts in the human body. Newborns show the highest amount of squalene in their blood with this amount rapidly decreasing over the years. This concentration of squalene in the blood drops drastically between the ages of 30 and 40. “But don’t worry. Olives are the richest source of squalene. Squalene can also be found in oil extracted from amaranthus. This is a pseudo-grain having seeds and leaves with a great content of oil for a cereal. Squalene has the capacity to increase good cholesterol (HDL) and to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). Even O2Live capsules are one of the prominent supplements of squalene. The gel capsules have 100 per cent squalene in it,” he says.

Other dietary modifications

Incorporating these below-mentioned steps can reduce your risk of heart disease:

∙ Limit the intake of fried fast food and processed foods.
∙ Instead of consuming energy from saturated fats (such as butter, coconut oil and cream), replace it with healthy unsaturated fats from seeds and plants (such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, sunflower, canola, safflower, peanut, soybean and sesame) and foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and soy.
∙ Fill your plate with more and a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits and wholegrain cereals.
∙ Limit the consumption of refined sources of carbohydrates with higher glycaemic indices including foods with added sugars.
∙ Unprocessed red meats should be avoided completely and even other meats should be consumed within 350 grams per week. Say no to processed meat such as sausages, ham, salami and prosciutto.
∙ Ask your meat seller to remove all visible fat from meat and skin from the chicken.
∙ Ensure you are consuming legumes regularly like baked beans, soybeans, lentils and tofu. Consume them without salt.
∙ Instead of consuming packaged fried snacks, snack on a handful of raw, unsalted nuts on most days of the week.
∙ If you love to consume fish, eat it at least once per week.
∙ Cut down your salt intake. Replace salt at the table and in cooking, with herbs and spices for flavour.
∙ Check the sodium content of foods and choose the lowest sodium products.
∙ Make sure you are keeping a check on cholesterol levels. If you have elevated cholesterol levels, shift to low-fat or non-fat dairy products and have no more than seven eggs per week.
∙ Reduce the intake of alcohol. A high alcohol intake increases blood pressure and can increase triglycerides in the blood.

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