The red palm oil has garnered a lot of interest and controversy in recent years, the same as coconut oil, but for different reasons. It has drawn attention for its possible effect on health, but it has also been the subject of intense debate about the effects that its production can have on the environment. Palm oil has been used for a long time throughout the food supply and in certain parts of the world for thousands of years, but only recently has it gained widespread recognition for its health benefits. It has been associated with everything from reduced cholesterol levels to a decrease in oxidative stress and better brain health. However, not all palm oil is created equally. Making some smart buying decisions can help ensure that you get the highest quality oil and purchases from producers that prioritize sustainability and positive environmental practices. So how is red palm oil made and palm oil is healthy? Or do the side effects and environmental impacts of this product outweigh any potential benefits? Read on to find out.
What is Red Palm Oil?
The definition of palm oil encompasses any oil that comes from the fruit of the oil palms. Elaeis guineensis, however, is a specific species native to southwestern Africa that is considered the main source of palm oil. These trees grow up to 20 meters tall and produce between 20 and 30 leaves per year. They also produce the palm fruit from which palm oil is extracted. Palm oil comes from both the grain and the pulp of the fruit, and it is estimated that every 100 kilograms of palm fruit yields about 23 kilograms of palm oil. Due to its high yield, palm oil has become a common ingredient for cooking in many parts of the world. Malaysia and Indonesia, in particular, account for approximately 80 percent of the global palm oil supply. In addition, due to its high smoke point and heat stability, red palm oil is a good choice for fried or sauteed dishes. It is also often found in many types of processed foods, such as protein bars, baked goods and cereals. Unrefined palm oil has a reddish hue and is often referred to as red palm oil.
“This type of oil is especially rich in carotenoids and beneficial antioxidants”.
Not only that, but including a tablespoon or two of this healthy oil in your diet every day has been linked to a number of powerful health benefits.
Benefits of Red Palm Oil:
The Main Benefits of Red Palm Oil are:
1. Reduce Cholesterol Levels:
High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. Too much of this fatty substance can accumulate in the arteries, which causes them to harden and narrow, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Some studies have found that red palm oil can actually help lower the amount of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood to keep your heart healthy and strong. One study analyzed the effects of palm oil, soybean oil, peanut oil and butter on cholesterol levels. The researchers found that palm oil caused a 13.1 percent decrease in bad LDL cholesterol and a 6.7 percent drop in triglyceride levels in people with normal cholesterol. It was also shown that palm oil had a similar effect on blood cholesterol levels than extra virgin olive oil and could reduce both triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Other ways to reduce cholesterol naturally and quickly include eating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, limiting your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and consuming enough fiber in your diet.
2. Delays the Progression of Heart Disease:
In addition to reducing your cholesterol levels, palm oil has also been shown to help improve your heart health by slowing the progression of heart disease. The effects of palm oil on heart disease were analyzed after 18 months, when 28% of a group of people with heart disease who were treated with palm oil showed improvement, while 64 percent remained stable. On the contrary, nobody in the placebo group showed improvement, and 40 percent actually got worse. A healthy diet and lifestyle are key to slowing the progression of heart disease. In addition to including heart-healthy fats, such as red palm oil, in your diet, getting enough exercise, eating many anti-inflammatory foods and keeping your stress levels under control can also help reverse and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
3. Improves Brain Health:
Red palm oil is packed with tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E that has potent antioxidant properties and can contribute to healthy brain function. This can have great benefits and can help in everything from decreasing dementia to improving cognition. One study found that tocotrienols could improve cognitive function in mice. Another study of 121 people with brain injuries found that twice-daily supplementation with tocotrienols helped block the growth of the lesions. In addition to red palm oil, other brain foods that can help stimulate memory and focus include blueberries, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and salmon.
4. Improves the State of Vitamin A:
Red palm oil is an excellent source of beta carotene, a type of carotenoid that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is an incredibly important nutrient that is involved in many aspects of health, from maintaining healthy vision to promoting immune function. In fact, vitamin A deficiency can cause symptoms such as dry eyes, frequent infections and even blindness. Red palm oil is often used as a supplement to help improve vitamin A status in those at risk of deficiency. One study showed that treating pregnant women with red palm oil increased vitamin A levels for both them and their babies. Another study analyzed the effects of red palm oil in 16 participants with cystic fibrosis , a condition that affects the secretory glands and causes difficulty in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A. Supplement with two or three tablespoons of palm oil per day for eight weeks It was found that it increases your vitamin A levels. To help maintain healthy levels of vitamin A and prevent negative side effects, be sure to include some servings of other foods with vitamin A in your diet, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale.
5. Reduce Oxidative Stress:
Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that form in your body as a result of factors such as stress, improper diet or exposure to contaminants and pesticides. They can accumulate in your body over time, which causes oxidative stress, inflammation, cell damage and even chronic diseases. Antioxidants, on the other hand, are compounds that can neutralize harmful free radicals to prevent damage to your cells. Red palm oil has a high content of beneficial antioxidants and has also been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Recently, it was discovered that it causes improvements in renal dysfunction and fibrosis, two conditions commonly associated with diabetic neuropathy. Not only that, but it was also found to decrease the markers of oxidative stress and inflammation as well. To eliminate oxidative stress, be sure to combine palm oil with a balanced diet and many other antioxidant-rich foods, such as turmeric, ginger, dark chocolate and nuts.
6. Improves the Health of the Skin and Hair:
What you eat can have a big impact on the health of your skin and hair. In fact, many people swear that they use red palm oil for their skin and say they can do everything from improving the appearance of scars to fighting acne. This is because it is rich in vitamin E, a nutrient that plays a central role in skin health. Red palm oil for hair growth is also commonly used due to its rich content of tocotrienol. A study with participants with hair loss found that taking tocotrienol for eight months increased the amount of hair by 34.5 percent. Meanwhile, the placebo group actually observed a 0.1 percent decrease in the number of hair at the end of the study. Other foods rich in vitamin E that you can include in your diet include almonds, avocado, sunflower seeds, squash and olive oil.
Side Effects and Concerns of Red Palm Oil:
Although there are a wide variety of health benefits associated with red palm oil, there are some side effects and ethical concerns that should be considered. First, consuming red palm oil can affect people differently. While several studies have shown that palm oil can lower cholesterol levels, others have produced conflicting results and report that it can actually increase cholesterol levels in some people. For this reason, it is better to use palm oil in moderation and use it in combination with other healthy fats in your diet. In addition, much of the palm oil on the market today is heavily processed and oxidized for culinary purposes. This depletes palm oil of its health promoting properties and can have negative impacts on health. Be sure to use unrefined palm oil and cold pressed to avoid adverse health effects. There are also some concerns about the environmental impacts of palm oil production. The growing market has put a strain on countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, where a large amount of palm oil is produced. Unfortunately, this has led to the deforestation of palm oil since forests and peatlands have been destroyed to keep up with growing demands.
This has had devastating consequences, causing the loss of habitat for wildlife and the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. There have also been reports of human rights violations by companies that produce palm oil with problems such as unsafe working conditions and low wages that cause particular concern.
Red Palm Oil Nutrition:
Take a look at the nutritional data of red palm oil and you will see that it is mainly composed of fat and is composed of almost equal parts of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
One Tablespoon (14 Grams) of Palm Oil Contains Approximately:
- 119 calories
- 5 grams of fat
- 2 milligrams of vitamin E (11 percent DV)
Red palm oil is also rich in carotenoids, which are the pigments of plants responsible for their reddish orange coloration. Red palm oil is especially high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that can be converted to vitamin A in the body. This nutrient-rich oil also has a very strong and distinctive flavor that distinguishes it from many other oils such as olive oil or grapeseed oil . The taste of red palm oil is often described as a carrot, and it also has a rich texture that makes it ideal for many dishes.
History of Red Palm Oil:
It is believed that we have been using palm oil for the past 5,000 years. In fact, in the nineteenth century, archaeologists unearthed palm oil in an Egyptian tomb that dates back to 3000 BC. Although originally used as cooking oil, palm oil also had a variety of medicinal uses in Africa. It was used as an antidote for poison, a cure for gonorrhea a natural laxative, a diuretic and treatment for pain of head and skin infections. Malaysia and Indonesia account for the majority of the world’s palm oil production today. In fact, the Federal Territorial Development Agency (FELDA) is a Malaysian government agency and one of the largest palm oil producers. In 1956, the Land Development Law was enacted, which sought to combat poverty. The settlers received 10 acres of FELDA land with oil or rubber palm and 20 years to pay for it, which resulted in an explosion in palm oil production. These regions have suffered the greatest deforestation and destruction due to palm oil. A 2016 review even noted that 45 percent of the land now used for palm oil production in Southeast Asia was actually a forest in 1990. It was not until 2004 that the Roundtable on sustainable palm oil was formed, emphasizing sustainability and responsible production that minimizes the impact on the environment, wildlife and the community.
For most people, the health risks of palm oil are quite minimal, as it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction or any negative side effects. In any case, if you experience any adverse symptoms after eating palm oil, stop using it and talk to your doctor. Keep in mind that some studies have found that overheated palm oil could increase arterial plaque, which may result in an increased risk of heart disease. For this reason, it is better to avoid repeated overheating, as it can decrease the antioxidant activity of the oil and cause negative health effects. In addition, while red palm oil is associated with many health benefits, it is important to keep your intake in moderation. Too much of any type of fat can have negative consequences, such as weight gain and increased cholesterol levels.