by: Everton McLean
The Evening Telegram
Sunday, June 29, 2008
If you want a healthy dish, trim the fat off your beef, chicken or pork. But leave it on your seal meat.
Or just take a seal capsule instead.
That’s the message from a Memorial University researcher who has been studying the health properties of seal oil for the past three years.
Sukhinder Cheema, an associate professor of biochemistry, says the oil, which is derived from the mammal’s blubber, has far greater health benefits than some other supplements, such as fish oil.
First off, she said, it’s low in saturated fats.
“Saturated fat is bad for you. You go to the store and everything says ‘Low in saturated fats,’” she said. Seal oil is very low in saturated fats compared to fish oil.
“Secondly, we all say olive oil is very good for you because it is high in monounsaturated fats. Seal oil is high in this also.”
She said her research has also shown that the body can use seal oil more easily than fish oil, due to its composition. Seal oil even has an extra type of Omega-3 fatty acid compared to fish oil, Cheema said.
“Seal oil contains three Omega-3 fatty acids, while fish oil only has two.”
In addition to being useful in fighting heart disease by lowering lipid levels, Omega-3 is beneficial against Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and arthritis, Cheema said. It’s also good for the eyes, and because it things blood, it can b e used to reduce the risk of blood clots.
To cap it off, seal oil also has a better shelf life, she said.
“Seal oil is also more stable and less prone to oxidation, as opposed to fish oil.”
Cheema said the new information may be useful for companies in the province that make and sell the oil. Recently, St. John’s-based Company North Atlantic Biopharma started a partnership with Chinese companies to develop a seal oil alternative to soy products.
While she outlines its health benefits, Cheema said people who are thinking about using the seal oil should consult a physician first, due to its ability to inhibit blood clotting in large doses.
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