holistic health magazine





Palm Oil
Debunking the Myths about this Healthy Fat

Although palm oil is a saturated fat, it is NOT unhealthy. It's cholesterol free, trans-fat free, and full of anti-oxidants and other nutrients.

Holistic Health Newsletter!


Natural Weight Loss Program recommended by The Share Guide
learn more

About Share Guide

Holistic Health Articles

Health Directory




Contact us

Do you have a
Holistic Business?
Get listed in Share Guide's Holistic Health Directory for only $9.95 per month. For more info
Click Here

Palm oil is a nutrition-packed vegetable oil that has been the victim of some bad press. Made from the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), palm oil has been long recognized in West African countries, and is widely used as a cooking oil. Although palm oil is a saturated fat, it is cholesterol free and a great natural source of tocotrienol (part of the vitamin E family). Palm oil has a unique and mild flavour and is a commonly used ingredient in preparing many authentic traditional African and Brazilian foods.
There's a good chance you've heard palm oil erroneously grouped together with "palm kernel oil," which is not the same thing--it's more highly saturated and often highly refined as well. The palm fruit is no larger than a grapefruit, and it has a large central nut called the palm kernel (which is used in making palm kernel oil) enclosed by the soft juicy pulp (from which the red oil is made).
Palm oil contains a balance of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fatty acids. In its natural state it is free of trans-fats; it is fairly solid at room temperature so it does not require hydrogenation.
In addition, palm oil contains many positive nutrients. It contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid which the body cannot manufacture. It is also rich in antioxidants, actually 15 times richer in beta-carotene than carrot. Beta-carotenes are a very important form of vitamin A that help protect our body against many diseases like Alzheimer's, heart attacks, cataracts, arthritis and cancers, by acting as anti-oxidants. (Anti-oxidants protect cells against dangerous chemicals released by our cells called free radicals--much the same way that anti-rust protects metallic objects from rusting.)
Palm oil is also a good source of tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E that helps in protecting the body against diseases like cancer and blood disorders, as well as helping to maintain good skin and fertility. Animal studies have found that tocotrienols may have the abilty to reverse blockage of the carotid artery and platelet aggregration thereby reducing the risk of stroke, arteriosclerosis and other heart disease related problems. Animal studies have also found that tocotrienols may exhibit activity against tumor promotion.
Human studies have shown that a palm oil-enriched diet does not raise the level of LDL or total cholesterol, and may even lead to lower plasma levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol most commonly linked to heart disease).
So why does palm oil have such a bad reputation? In the 1980's the American Soya Oil processors were worried about losing domestic sales to imports of palm oil from Malaysia. They set up organisations which purported to promote good health to consumers but in reality were a front for attacking tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut oil. Luckily, the tide is turning as people learn the true health benefits of tropical oils.
Palm oil is suitable for vegan, vegetarian, and non-dairy diets. It's best to look for unmodified, organic red palm oil, which can be found at your local natural foods store. (Any clear palm oils are not going to have the health benefits of red palm oil due to refining, deodorization, and bleaching.)
The fact that palm oil is solid at room temperature, has a neutral taste, and can be extracted without the use of solvents, has made it a very useful ingredient in organic food processing. The only other organic fats which are solid at room temperature are butter and coconut oil, both of which are more highly saturated.

Sources: organicandfairplus.com, wikipedia.org, africanfoods.co.uk, americanpalmoil.com, wellsphere.com.

Related Info:
Trans-America: The Big, Fat Truth
The Health Risks of Visceral Obesity
The Truth about Coconut Oil
Dr. David Kessler on taking control of our food choices
Dean Ornish, M.D. on low-fat diets and nutrition
The Truth about Cholesterol
Cool Inflammation: Say No to NSAIDS
Hidden Signs of Heart Attack in Women

Natural Weight Loss Program recommended by The Share Guide: learn more


freeIf you liked this article, you'll love The Share Guide's
Holistic Health Newsletter. Click here to subscribe for free!

facebook logo Become a fan on Facebook

Home Health Directory Articles Index Interviews

Health Store Links About Share Guide Contact us


Avertising Info
Subscribe to magazine

Search this site

copyright 2010--The Share Guide--All rights reserved