"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
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
- 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.
- 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.
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 SabziIngredients:
- 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.