Palm oil is a vegetable edible oil obtained from the African palm tree fruit, which is also known as Elaeis guineensis. The tree is native to Malaysia, the largest manufacturer and palm oil exporter in the world. Palm oil is of orange to red color it has a delicious and strong taste, and its red color comes from beta-carotene, the substance also found in carrots, and known for its protective function against cancer and heart conditions. Palm oil is commonly used in African and Asian cooking in soups and other dishes and it is also an ingredient of margarine and chocolates. It is widely used in soap and candle manufacturing as well as in cosmetics. Its numerous health benefits are mostly due to the high content of beta-carotene, because palm oil contains 15 times more of this substance than carrot.
Chemically speaking beta-carotene is the form of vitamin A, which is valued for its antioxidant properties. Antioxidant substances protect the organism from free radicals, chemicals responsible for aging of the body and the occurrence of cancers, which is why the consumption of palm oil becomes good prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and heart attacks. It also helps in maintaining eye health by preventing cataracts, night blindness and other eye conditions. Palm fruit oil is also the major source of tocotrienols the form of vitamin E known to protect against cancer and blood diseases. Other benefits include its role in promoting healthy skin and fertility. Palm oil contains High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) the good type of fat that helps protect against cholesterol.
However, there have been some negative comments about palm oil due to its high content of saturated fats, which is associated with the risk of the heart disease. The incidence of cardiovascular diseases in the peoples of Africa and Asia who use palm oil every day in their diet is lower than in Western countries. In addition there is a lot of research showing that red palm oil is the guardian of the healthy heart and the digestive tract. It is important to note that palm oil does not contain trans-fatty acids which are to blame for the heart related diseases disrupted metabolism of fat and the inability of the body to eliminate cancerous agents from the bloodstream. Palm oil is certainly a healthy alternative to many cooking oils used and this is a reason more why introducing it into one’s diet seems like a very reasonable decision.