Palm oil is used for frying and in preparing various types of cuisines. It is a rich source of healthy fats. It’s been used for a long time, as long as 3000 B.C. In fact, archaeologists located traces of it in Egyptian tombs. The practice of extracting oil from the palm plant originated in Africa and is recorded to be one of the earliest traded commodities.
The British Industrial revolution expanded the use of palm oil to the international market, making it a raw material for many production and manufacturing activities.
It is such a beneficial oil because of its multifunctionality. It is healthy because it is an excellent source of saturated and unsaturated fats, and it contains even more nutrients, some of which you’ll get to know soon. It is an antioxidant and vitamin-rich oil that adds a healthy element to foods.
This vegetable oil is extracted mainly from the pulp of the palm trees fruit. The extraction is done with two varieties of the palm plant: the African palm tree, and the American palm tree. Let’s get deeper into this discourse.
What are the Benefits of Palm Oil?
It Prevents Cancer
Palm oil contains antioxidants, and this makes it reliable in keeping cancerous cells at bay. Antioxidants provide a shield to the body from many diseases, cancer is one of them. Palm oil contains tocopherols which are powerful antioxidants that attack cancerous cells and eliminate them completely.
It is Anti-Thrombotic
Have you ever heard of thrombosis? It is the formation of blood clots in blood vessels and veins. They are terribly harmful because they obstruct blood flow to certain parts of the body. Palm oil is effective in the treatment of thrombosis.
It Balances Cholesterol Levels
Palm oil is high in HDL cholesterol which is healthy for the body. Palm oil when used in moderation can help balance out the cholesterol levels in the body.
It is Energy-Boosting
The need for energy is known by many, and the constant longing for it isn’t new to us. There are various foods that give short-lived energy and have loads of terrible side effects. Palm oil is an excellent and safe source of energy; its composition supplies the body with all the nourishing and strength-building nutrients it needs. Its beta-carotene content also helps balance hormonal levels.
It is Rich in Antioxidants
Palm oil is rich in beta-carotene, which prevents cancer and strengthens the immune system — this makes it effective in fighting off diseases.
It’s Got some Omega-3 Too
Omega 3 fatty acids are absolutely powerful nutrients that remarkably enhance bodily functions. Omegas 3s are undeniably useful elements in maintaining a healthy muscular structure in the body. Palm oil contains a small amount of omega 3 fatty acids. This makes palm oil effective in slowing down the loss of cognitive function in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. That’s not all, as it protects the body from arthritis.
It’s Got Vitamin D
Without an iota of doubt, the best source of vitamin D is the sun, however, it is not surprising that a number of people are deficient in this vitamin because today’s lifestyle does not promote a healthy amount of sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency can cause arthritis, and inflammation in the joints. Palm oil is a rich source of vitamin D, maintaining healthy joints and bone density.
Enjoy the Goodness of Vitamin E
Really, who doesn’t want to have a youthful look? Even old folks do, LOL! Vitamin E is nature’s gift to humanity to give the best of youthfulness. It’s just perfect to combat aging. Vitamin E has got eight antioxidants that protect the skin and body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. What a wonder! Now, here’s the fascinating news: The vitamin E in palm oil does not only do the aforementioned, it also protects the heart and other vital organs. What’s more? It protects the body against atherosclerosis and aging.
It Contains Vitamin K
Deficiency in this powerful vitamin can lead to excessive loss of blood, delayed healing, and easy bruising. Usually, people who suffer vitamin K deficiency are resistant to the effects of antibiotics, and this can be an issue. Palm oil contains vitamin K, giving all the essential benefits of this powerful vitamin.
Pregnancy Care isn’t Left Out
Did You Know?
- Palm oil is the most consumed vegetable oil all over the world.
- Palm oil is obtained from the fruit of the oil palm and used basically in the production of food, fuel, and cosmetics.
- The oil palm originates from Africa, however, its fast-expanding plantations are seen throughout South America and Indonesia, due to its growing global demand.
- Did you know that palm oil is used in making cosmetics, creams and makeup, biscuits, chocolate, margarine, granola bars, and chocolate spread?
- After an oil palm plantation has been abandoned, it takes ten years for the original flora to strike root again because of the loss of natural undergrowth.
- The combined expanse of rainforest cover that is felled or burned every hour covers 300 football pitches.
- A number of organizations and environmental bodies organize protests against palm oil-related deforestation.
- Expanding palm plantations, over the years, have threatened endangered species such as rhinos, tigers, elephants, and orangutans.
- A UN report states that palm oil production requires high amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, hence it heavily pollutes the soil and freshwater systems.
And Side Effects?
Some of its Nutrients Don’t Survive
Sadly, some of the nutrients of palm oil don’t make it into the final product. Almost all palm oil in the market is heavily refined and have lost most of the vitamin content. And really, what’s left after these vitamins are gone? So yeah, Palm oil in itself is healthy, but for the refining it many times goes through, how sad.
It’s not Environment-Friendly
As seen in Indonesia and Malaysia, in order to meet the high demand for palm oil, huge swaths of forests are regularly cut down to clear the way for palms to be planted. This, to some extent, causes safety problems. We haven’t even mentioned the extinction of wildlife this causes. This clearing and burning of forests is responsible for most of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions and its place as the world’s third largest polluter.
It’s not Animal-Friendly
Deforestation upsets ecosystems and deprives wildlife of their peaceful homes. A number of them die, and others are forced to become invaders in other habitats in order to survive. Quite unfair. The orangutan, in particular, has suffered the loss of over 90% of its habitat in the past three decades. More saddening is the fact that it is estimated that orangutans will become extinct within twenty years.
It’s High in Saturated Fat
Over half of the fats in palm oil are saturated. Palm oil is has got about 52 percent saturated fat, still has less than that of coconut oil though, which has got more than 90 percent saturated fat.
Now you know… Palm oil is healthy, and it’s got its other sides too. For me, really, there’s nothing as fascinating as its multifunctionality. Just like every other food, palm oil should be consumed in moderation.