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The Health and Nutritional Benefits of Palm Oil

By August 12, 2020One Comment

Palm oil is not only used daily as cooking oil, but is also commonly found in margarine, ice cream, chocolate, soap, instant noodles, biodiesel, cosmetic ingredients and cooking oil. Palm oil contains a balance of one of the healthiest nutritious fats and does not contain trans fatty acids (TFA) or hydrogenated fats. Besides having a healthy fat content, palm oil contains Vitamin A, and tocopherol and tocotrienol antioxidants. When consumed in moderation, palm oil supports healthier living.

Palm oil contains saturated and unsaturated oils, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. Just 10ml contains about 20% of one’s daily recommend Vitamin E intake. In addition to being rich in nutrients, the oil palm is the most efficient crop among all vegetable oils. A one-hectare plantation of oil palm trees yields an annual average of 3.8 tons of crude palm oil (CPO); other vegetable oils such as soybean, sunflower and palm yield 1 ton/ year. With around 3 billion people across 150 countries currently using palm oil-based products, palm oil plays an important role in boosting Indonesia’s economy.

As a producer and processor of palm oil, PT Asianagro Agung Jaya (Apical Marunda) continuously strives to ensure its products bring more benefits to its consumers. Apical Marunda adopts a science-based approach in ensuring its products remain of high quality and good nutrition. It also relies on established international research in its communication to the wider community on the health and nutritional benefits of palm oil.

Vitamins and Antioxidants

Lim Teck Guan, General Manager, Apical Marunda explained, “Palm oil is rich in fats and vitamins. Unrefined or crude palm oil contains 60 to 100 mg of vitamin E per 100 grams. After purification, an average 50-65% of the vitamin E remains, of which as much as 70% contain tocotrienols.”

Mr Lim further explained that other vegetable oils – such as corn, olives, soybeans, and sunflowers – may be good sources of tocopherols but do not contain tocotrienols. Tocotrienol works faster as an antioxidant (a substance that inhibits cell damage or death, DNA damage and the emergence of cancer cells or tumors caused by free radicals). Moreover, the polyunsaturated fats in palm oil are found to protect the brain from dementia, reduce the risk of stroke, and prevent the growth of brain tumors.

Apical Marunda manufactures several products commonly used as daily necessities. These include margarine brands Vitas and Medalia; and cooking oil brands Camar, Harumas, and Frybest.

Balanced Composition

Fats and oils are the main energy source of our body, with fats providing an important defense for the body’s cells. Not all fats stored in the body come from dietary fats; body fat can also be produced from the consumption of carbohydrates or alcohol.

Compared to other fats and oils, palm oil has an average level of saturated fats. A recent comparative study by Odia et al 2015 on the effects of vegetable oils on established heart disease biomarkers showed a beneficial change when palm oil replaced other oils.

“With its balanced composition, palm oil is said to be the most suitable vegetable cooking oil. When used for frying, it has high stability, is not easily rancid, and produces long-lasting fried products and does not contain excessive free radicals,” explained Dr Hartika Ketty SpKK.

The recommended intake of dietary fat for a healthy diet according to the European Food and Safety Authority (2010) and to the Food & Agriculture Organization (2010) are respectively 25-30% and 15-35%.

“So basically, the type of fat that is truly useful for the body is cholesterol. Cholesterol helps with the formation of cell walls, bile, hormones and vitamins. People tend to forget that the healthiest fats are actually derived from vegetable oils such as palm oil and not animals, but should of course be consumed in moderation,” added Dr Ketty.

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Di Apical Group, komitmen kami terhadap keberlanjutan didukung penuh dimulai dari jajaran managemen teratas. Presiden Apical didukung oleh Direktur Keberlanjutan bersama seluruh kepala bisnis, memastikan keberlanjutan terintegrasi dalam unit bisnis dan fungsional, dan tertanam dalam nilai dan inisiatif inti perusahaan.

Topik keberlanjutan dibahas pada rapat dewan yang diadakan setiap tiga bulan. Kami juga memiliki tim keberlanjutan yang berdedikasi berbasis di Kuala Lumpur; Malaysia, dan Indonesia; Pekanbaru, Dumai, Medan, Jakarta dan Balikpapan. Tim Keberlanjutan ditugaskan untuk menerapkan dan memantau komitmen kami melalui keterlibatan dan kolaborasi pemangku kepentingan yang konstruktif.

Selain itu, kami didukung penuh oleh departemen Sosial, Keamanan, dan Perizinan (SSL) khusus di setiap unit bisnis yang kami miliki, untuk menangani masalah sosial dan perizinan sesuai dengan peraturan nasional serta kebijakan keberlanjutan Apical. Tim juga mengawasi program Tanggung Jawab Sosial Perusahaan (CSR) untuk mendukung penghidupan yang lebih baik di masyarakat setempat.

Mencapai tujuan keberlanjutan membutuhkan lebih dari sekadar kolaborasi dengan pemangku kepentingan utama kami. Kolaborasi lintas industri dan perusahaan sejenis juga penting dan karenanya, kami terus mencari dan berpartisipasi dalam kemitraan baru, keanggotaan industri yang relevan, dan skema sertifikasi.

Kami berpartisipasi dalam skema keanggotaan dan sertifikasi industri seperti Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), termasuk P&C Review Taskforce RSPO dan National Interpretation Working Group RSPO Indonesia, International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), dan Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO).

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At Apical Group, our commitment to sustainability stems right from the top. Apical’s President is supported by the Director of Sustainability and various business heads, to ensure sustainability is integrated within business and functional units, and embedded in the company’s core values and initiatives.

Sustainability topics are discussed at Board meetings held quarterly. We also have dedicated Sustainability teams based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Pekanbaru, Dumai, Medan, Jakarta and Balikpapan in Indonesia. The Sustainability teams are tasked with implementing and monitoring our commitments through constructive stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

In addition, there is also a dedicated Social, Security and Licensing (SSL) department in each refinery we own, to handle social and licensing matters in compliance with national regulations as well as Apical Sustainability Policy. The team also oversees Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes to support better livelihoods in local communities.

Achieving sustainability goals requires more than just collaboration with our key stakeholders. Collaboration across industries and peer companies is also crucial and hence, we constantly look for and participate in new partnerships, relevant industry membership and certification schemes.

We participate in industry membership and certification schemes such as the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), including the RSPO P&C Review Taskforce and the RSPO Indonesia National Interpretation Working Group, the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), and the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO)

Dato' Yeo How