Edible oils contribute to virtually every part of our lives. Be it being part of our cuisines, or used in making ointments and cosmetics to aid and enhance physical appearance. There are many oils that have been dubbed as superfoods at various times but the most prevalent one is – Coconut oil. It is the staple cooking oil and has wide array of health benefits, thus becoming the king of healthy oils.
But it seems that this is about to change. A new type of edible vegetable oil derived from species of palm – Palm oil, a bit controversial at times, is being dubbed as the next super food. It is extracted from two types of oil palm fruit: Elaeis guineensis, common in Africa, and Elaeis oleifera, found in South America. Historically, palm oil has been used in Africa and Southwest Africa for over 4000 years.
Since 2000, palm oil started gaining traction as a healthy food, when independent researchers from Monash University (Australia) and University of Uyoin (Nigeria) began to analyse the key components that make palm oil unique. Their research concluded that palm oil contains around 50% MCFA’s (amount of fat that body can easily utilize for energy). In addition the study also concluded its other constituents:
Carotenoids – an organic pigment produced by plants and animals
Sterols – important class of inorganic molecules produced by plants and animals
Vitamin E – distinctive antioxidant; and
Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids
One of the most beneficial attribute of palm oil is that it contains vitamins A and E in abundance, more than any other plant based oils. That’s a pretty big deal as vitamin A and E are credited with killing cancer cells and helps in preventing strokes. There are various other benefits that palm oil offers us. Few of them are listed below:
1. No Cholesterol:
One of the most important health benefit palm oil provides is zero cholesterol, making it a perfect substitute for butter in cooking. People with high cholesterol and heart disease can use it for their health benefits.
2. Good source of Vitamin A:
Consumption of palm oil helps improve vitamin A status in people who are deficient or at risk of deficiency. It’s found that pregnant women in developing countries have shown that consuming red palm oil increases vitamin A levels in their blood, as well as in their breastfed infants.
3. Hair Growth:
Usage of palm oil for hair helps in maintaining the collagen that reduces the hair fall, grey hair and encourages hair growth. With qualities like thorough conditioning and hair fall reduction, palm oil is known as a very effective solution for hair nourishment.
4. Unsaturated Fats:
Unsaturated fats helps in protecting the health of your heart. Palm oil is an amazing source of unsaturated fats and medium chain fatty acids, making it an ideal choice for cooking. These qualities also make it ideal for healthier skin, bones and joints.
5. Loaded With Antioxidants:
One thing we all are obsessed with nowadays is maintaining our youthful appearance. With a sufficient amount of Vitamin E and being loaded with anti-oxidants, palm oil provides amazing anti-aging benefits. It prevents the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines and is capable of providing protection against harmful UV rays and other toxins. This makes palm oil a must in your diet to keep your skin healthy and youthful.
Above are just some benefits that palm oil provides but there are hosts of other benefits and overall wellness associated with palm oil. Palm oil is shedding its image of “unhealthy tropical grease” and reclaiming its spot as a healthy super food.