Benefits Of Palm Oil

Research has established many scientific facts about the beneficial nutritional effects of palm oil. The following are excerpts of studies which have been published in international scientific journals and endorsed by nutritional scientists.

  • Palm oil, like other vegetable oils, contains negligible levels of cholesterol.
  • Red or golden palm oils are the richest natural sources of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, a potent anti-oxidant and precursor of Vitamin A.
  • Palm oil products are naturally occurring sources of the anti-oxidant vitamin E constituents, tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are widely believed to play a protective role in cellular ageing, atherosclerosis and cancer.
  • Palm olein contains a mixture of polyunsaturated, mono-unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Its composition is similar to that of the adipose tissue of most people on an ordinary diet.
  • Palm oil contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, which favors absorption and availability for use in the body.
  • Palm oil does not generally contain trans-fatty acids and even if present, is at very low levels of less than 1% developed during refining process. Palm oil processes from the oil mill to the refinery do not undergo a hydrogenation process to change its structure. It is free from the trans-fatty acid found in other hydrogenated oils and fats. The profile of palm oil and its fraction makes it extremely suitable for use in various applications without resorting to hydrogenation.
  • Palm oil is one of the seventeen edible oils possessing an FAO/WHO Food Standard under the CODEX Alimentarius Commission Programme.
  • Palm oil has had a long history of food use of over 5,000 years.
  • Palm oil is extracted from the flesh of a palm fruit solely by cooking and pressing. It should be clearly distinguished from palm kernel oil and coconut oil because it has lower level of saturated components with no significant content of capric, lauric and myristic acids.
  • Palm oil contains an equal proportion of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids with about 44% palmitic acid, 5% stearic acid (both saturated), 40% oleic acid (monounsaturated), 10% linoleic acid and 0.4% alpha linolenic acid (both polyunsaturated).
  • Like all other vegetable oils, palm oil is cholesterol- free.
  • Presently, it is consumed worldwide as cooking oil, in margarine and shortenings and is also incorporated into fat blends and wide variety of food products.
  • For most food uses, palm oil does not require hydrogenation, thus avoiding the formation of trans-fatty acids.Refined palm oil, as used in foods, is a rich source of tocopherols and tocotrienols having Vitamin E activity. Red palm oil is the only commercially available rich source of carotenoids and can be used as a pro-vitamin A activity.
  • Palm oil without hydrogenation is an excellent frying oil. Unlike unsaturated oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower seed oil, it has lower tendency to oxidize and is resistant to the formation of polar components and cyclic polymers.
  • Like other common edible fats and oils, palm oil is readily digested, absorbed and utilized as a source of energy.
  • A number of recent controlled human studies in Europe, USA and Asia have confirmed that there is no significant rise in serum total cholesterol when palm oil, providing most of the dietary fat, is used as an alternative to other fats in the habitual diet.
  • In the above mentioned studies, the level of HDL cholesterol, regarded as beneficial, was unaltered or significantly enhanced.
  • The content of Lipoprotein (a) in blood plasma, a potent risk indicator for coronary heart disease, was significantly reduced when palm oil provided most of the dietary fat.
  • Palm oil has been demonstrated to be a necessary component in current dietary recommendations to achieve a balanced distribution between saturates, monounsaturates and polyunsaturates. When humans consume diets having such fatty acid distributions, there is a tendency to improve the overall cholesterol lipoprotein ratios.
  • The minor constituents in palm oil namely; carotenoids, tocopherols and tocotrienols have beneficial health properties including antioxidant, anti-cancer and cholesterol lowering effects. In addition, carotenoids in palm oil are biologically active as pro-vitamin A.
  • Compared to a number of other edible oils, dietary palm oil reduces the number of chemically- induced tumours in rats.
    Source: Sixteen Health Facts on Palm Oil | Malaysian Palm Oil Council | 2006