Health Benefits of Palm Oil - Usage, Production, Recipes

Health Benefits of Palm Oil

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What is Palm Oil?

"One of the signs of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important." - Bertrand Russell

Palm oil is a vegetable oil extracted from different varieties of oil palm trees. It is known by various names as African palm oil, American palm oil, palm fruit oil, palm kernel oil and red palm oil depending upon the type, fruit part or method of extraction Palm oil is becoming increasingly popular among population, topping the list among its contemporary vegetable oils. Research confirms it to be effective in reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases and many cancers.

Palm oil is reddish orange colored attributing to its high carotene content. Red palm oil has been used since ancient times in Africa as a health tonic and today recent researches have proven its benefits for health. It is often compared with coconut oil in terms of health benefits and usability. Some people find its flavor very distinct and hence unfavorable for food preparations.

Health Benefits of Palm Oil

Palm Oil Nutritional Facts

Palm oil is loaded with nutrients and is one of the few vegetable oils which are naturally saturated. It is balanced in fatty acid composition with 50% saturated fatty acids, 40% unsaturated and 10% of polysaturated fatty acids. It has abundant vitamins like Vitamin A and E and phytonutrients like sterols, phenolic acids antioxidants like flavonoids. It contains different carotenes as lycopene and alpha, beta, gamma carotenes. Palm oil is also rich in a superior form of vitamin E tocotrienols which are effective against various chronic diseases. Such a blend of nutrients puts this oil in the category of super foods essentially promoting health.

Health Benefits of Palm Oil

Palm oil is extracted from either the pulp or the seed of the fruit. The fruit pulp oil is edible and can be used in cooking while palm kernel oil is a key ingredient in cosmetic products and soaps. Edible red palm oil is highly nutritious and reduces risk of various chronic diseases. Some of them are:
  • Cardiovascular Health: The most prized benefit of palm oil is its effectiveness in maintaining good cardiovascular health. Unsaturated fatty acids enhance production of Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in body negatively impacting heart health but the balanced composition of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in palm oil counteract the negative LDL effects with more amount of beneficial High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol produced in the body. Such a blend of essential lipids keeps the heart healthy and reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis, stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases CVDs.
Palm Oil for Healthy Heart
  • Cancer Prevention: Crude palm oil as well as red palm oil is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E which are proven anti-cancer agents. Research has confirmed the role of carotenoids and vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols) as inhibitors of cancer cells. Palm oil has got the highest amount of these vitamins among all other vegetable oils. Tocotrienols are super antioxidants which prevent oxidative damage of tissues due to free radicals which is the prime reason of cancer development. It is shown that maintaining a healthy diet with less fat consumption is important to reduce the risk of cancer. Palm oil has the most balanced amounts of fatty acids which reduce the risk of causing cancer. Palm oil helps prevent breast, colon, stomach, pancreas, prostate and liver cancers.
  • Eye Health: Vitamin A deficiency is the prime reason for poor eye health and eye problems like cataract and eye defects in young age. Beta carotene and other vital antioxidants present in palm oil prevent free radical damage to the body and mutation. It helps improve vision and reduce the risk of developing cataract and macular degeneration. Encapsulated palm oil is used as supplement for reducing vitamin A deficiency.
  • Immunity: Palm oil is a definite booster of overall body immunity. The high quantities of antioxidants in it protect body against various infections and prevent from developing various chronic diseases. Vitamins A, E, D and K improve body metabolism and white blood cell functioning prevents infections.
Palm Oil Helps Improve Vision
  • Mental Health: Antioxidants are important for maintaining mental health too. They protect neural nerves against free radicals and prevent nervous breakdown. It enhances blood flow to the nerves reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and improves cognitive functions. The benefits of palm oil for brain are under investigation in preventing dementia and other nervous disorders.
  • Liver Detoxification: Palm oil detoxifies liver and protects against non-fatty acid liver diseases. Its antioxidant properties improve liver functions and prevent deposition of particles in liver and pancreas thereby reduce cancer risk.
  • Skin and Hair Improvement: Rich nutrient profile of palm oil makes it an excellent beauty enhancing product. Palm kernel oil is used in manufacturing of palm oil products for hair and skin as an additive for providing lipid content to the products. Its essential fatty acid content improves skin texture and makes hair strong while carotenes and tocopherols shield skin and hair against harmful UV rays of sun.
Palm Oil for Skin and Hair Care

Usage and Production

Red palm oil industry has grown in past years due to increased usage compelling the need for sustainable oil palm plantation. Palm oil processing leads to its oxidation resulting in the oil becoming less effective and harmful for the body. Organic palm oil is a preferred choice, when compared to hydrogenated and processed palm oil, which must be avoided.

Palm Oil Recipe

Beans and Bananas Sabzi

  • 1 cup red kidney beans
  • 2 green bananas
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp red palm oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to garnish
  • Soak kidney beans in water for 3-5 hours. Then boil till tender.
  • In a pan add palm oil and sauté onions in it.
  • Add peeled and chopped bananas to it.
  • Add kidney beans, salt and pepper.
  • Add water and cook until bananas are properly cooked.
  • Serve hot with bread or chapattis.

Nutrition Facts for Palm Oil

The nutritional values of "Palm Oil" per 100 grams are:

Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 884
Protein 0 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 0 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 0 mg 0 %
Copper, Cu 0 mg 0 %
Iron, Fe 0.01  mg 0.06 %
Magnesium, Mg 0 mg 0 %
Manganese, Mn ~
Phosphorus, P 0 mg 0 %
Potassium, K 0  mg 0 %
Selenium, Se 0 mcg 0 %
Sodium, Na 0 mg 0 %
Zinc, Zn 0 mg 0 %
Vitamin A 0  IU 0 %
Vitamin C 0 mg 0 %
Vitamin B6 0 mg 0 %
Vitamin E 15.94 mg 53.13 %
Vitamin K 8  mcg 10 %
Riboflavin 0  mg 0 %
Thiamin 0 mg 0 %
Folate, DFE 0  mcg 0 %
Niacin 0  mg 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Fiber 0  g 0 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 0 g
Carotene, alpha 0 mcg
Carotene, beta 0  mcg
Choline 0.3 mg
Lycopene 0  mcg
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

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