People spanning the coastal region of west and Central Africa and Central and South America have heralded it as a sacred food for over 4,000 years and for good reason.
According to Cambridge world History of Food. the view still persist in some circles that palm oil is an unhealthy tropical grease and it is difficult for palm oil producers to counter this perception because the product had little or no public image among western and Asian consumers before the start of the recent media debate.
However, this image seems to be changing as palm oil has gained considerable attention the past few years in natural health and research circles.
Benefits of red palm oil
It all started about a decade ago during the 2000s. In what appears to be an independent search. Research from Monash University (Australia) and University of Uyo (Nigeria) began to analyze the key components that make palm oil so unique and both came up with striking similar conclusion.
It is one of the few fatty fruit in existence. It is likely to hold a substantial place in the human diet and is the second most consumed vegetable oil in the world. It is different from other plant and animal oils in its fatty acid composition (50% saturated, 40% unsaturated and 10% polyunsaturated) in that it does not promote atherosclerosis or arterial thrombosis.
Where coconut oil has around 90% MCFA’s (fat your body can easily burn to energy) palm oil only contains around 50% MCFA’s. But in addition to MCFA’s palm oil is also loaded with the following:
Caroteenoids ( alpha-beta and gamma-carotenes)
Sterols ( sitosterol, stigma sterol and campesterol
Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acid and flavonoids.
Subsequently, the health benefits of palm oil include reduced risk of a variety of disease processes including:
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Arterial thrombosis
• Cognitive impairment
• Macular degenation
• Platelet aggregatio9n (blood clothing)
• Hypercholesterolemia ( high cholesterol level)
• Hypertension ( high blood pressure)
• Vitamin A deficiency.
Fresh vs oxidized palm oil
Palm oil can be sold in a fresh state or at various levels of oxidation. Oxidation is a result of processing the oil for various culinary` purposes. However a considerable amount of the commonly used palm oil is in the oxidized state which poses potential dangers to the biochemical and physiological function of the body.
Unlike fresh palm oil, oxidized palm oil induces an adverse lipid profile, reproductive toxicity and toxicity of the kidney, lung, liver and heart. This may be a result of the generation of the toxicants brought on by oxidation. In contrast to oxidized palm oil, red or refined palm oil at moderate levels in the diet of experimental animals promotes efficient utilization of nutrients favorable body weight gains, induction of hepatic (liver) drug metabolizing enzymes, adequate hemoglobinization of red cells and improvement of immune function.
Avoid processed and hydrogenated palm oil
In a nutshell, you want to avoid all processed, hydrogenated oils like the plague. Even the amazing health benefits of palm oil are completely negated due to this harmful process that extends shelf life. Stay safe and keep your shelves stocked with Unrefined Cold Pressed oils.
Positive effects on inflammation and oxidative stress
At the end of 2013, the journal BMC complementary and alternative medical published a study that evaluated the antioxidant activity of the oral application of oil palm leaves extract (OPLE) in mice with diabetes. Just 4 weeks after administrating a relatively high dose in the animals, scientists observed that OPLE began to improve kidney dysfunction and fibrosis which are commonly associated with diabetic neuropathy
Fascinating, they also noticed that oxidative stress markers and inflammation, which are directly related to the most common causes of death in the world cancer and heart disease) began to decrease. Although doctors are hesitant to announce that palm oil is the new treatment for these deadly diseases, this type of research is certainly turning heads.
More vitamin A, E than any other plant base oil
Arguably one of the most beneficial of its many positive attributes is that red palm oil contains the most abundant amount of vitamin A and E of any plant based oil. Vitamin A and E are praised for everything from killing cancer cells to preventing stroke. No wonder palm oil production has doubled since 1995.
In 2011 Ohio state University Medical Center researchers set out to determine just the potency of tocotrienols. The most potent neuroprotective in vitamin E. they observed some pretty amazing results. Not only did they discover that a 200 mg tocotrienols-enriched supplement significantly reduced stroke induced lesions in the brain, it literally prevented loss of white matter fiber tract connectivity. Essentially, this tells us that vitamin E rich foods like red palm oil can help protect the brain from ischemic attack.
Scientist also noticed that red palm oil induced new blood vessel growth which in turn provides further protection for the brain and heart during a stroke.
When buying palm oil make sure to only buy sustainable palm oil. Unfortunately there are some large companies that are destroying trees in order to harvest palm oil. Simply check the brand you are buying to make sure they are certified sustainable and you won’t only be improving your health but you will be improving the world.