Red palm oil

Red palm oil, otherwise known as palm oil, is derived from the fruits of the palm tree; more specifically, it is extracted from the pulp of its fruit. It is called red palm oil because of its natural reddish hue, due to the high amount of carotenes it possesses. Do not confuse palm oil with the oil that comes from the kernel, or seed (called palm kernel oil). Palm oil is abundant in both saturated and unsaturated fats, and it contains no cholesterol or trans fatty acids. The breakdown of these is as follows:

  • Glycerol laurate (0.1%, saturated)
  • Myristate (0.1%, saturated)
  • Palmitate (44%, saturated)
  • Stearate (5%, saturated)
  • Oleate (39%, monounsaturated)
  • Linoleate (10%, polyunsaturated)
  • Linolenate (0.3%, polyunsaturated)

So what does all this mean? Is red palm oil healthy? Is it used in cooking? What else is red palm oil used for? Once you have finished reading this article, all of these questions will be matched with answers.

Health Benefits of Red Palm Oil
All of the essential fatty acids that red palm oil contains are essential for the proper growth and development of the human body. The oil also supplies quite the selection of vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are also important for good health. To sum it up, here is a list of all the health benefits that red palm oil provides.

  • The red color appears because of the combination of the alpha-carotenes, beta-carotenes, and lycopene.
  • Other nutrients that red palm oil contains include: vitamin K, CoQ10, squalene, phytosterols, flavonoids, glycolipids, and phenolic acids.
  • Both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are vitamin A precursors, also known as provitamin A; this means that once the body has these carotenes, it is able to make vitamin A. Red palm oil is one of the richest dietary sources of this essential vitamin. In fact, it contains more than carrots and tomatoes combined. Those who are lacking vitamin A or provitamin A in their diet suffer from blindness or other vision problems, weakened bones, and weakened immune system.
  • Red palm oil has plentiful amounts (in fact, the most abundant of any natural dietary source) of vitamin E, which is in the form of tocopherols and tocotrienols.
  • The antioxidants (tocopherols, tocotrienols, and carotenes) that red palm oil contains are very potent and help fight off free radicals that can damage cells in the body. The benefits of antioxidants include providing protection against cancer and heart disease, and slowing the aging process.
  • Some of the other health benefits that have been researched are:
    • Improved blood circulation.
    • Improved blood sugar control.
    • Improved nutrient absorption by the body.
    • Stronger bones and teeth.
  • Red palm oil, when consumed during pregnancy, can improve both the mother’s and the baby’s vitamin A status.
  • It is being looked at for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition because it is abundant in many different nutrients.
  • More recently, it is being encapsulated and sold as a dietary supplement.
  • Many processed foods have palm oil as an ingredient. Just read your food labels and you will start to see how widely it is used.

Red Palm Oil’s Uses in Cooking
Red palm oil has been an international cooking favorite for centuries. In Africa and Southeast Asia, red palm oil is a staple in both the household and in cooking. It is good to use for cooking because it is more heat stable than other cooking oils, meaning it can withstand higher temperatures and still retain its form and nutritious properties; it is useful in both baked goods and cooking. It’s very distinctive taste is loved by those who use it.

Other Uses of Red Palm Oil

In addition to getting palm oil in through dietary sources, it has other conventional uses that may interest you.

  • Because it is packed with certain fatty acids (myristic and lauric), it is useful in the manufacturing of soaps, washing powders, and personal care products. Lauric acid is very important in soap making because it allows for a quick lathering when the product is being used.
  • It is used for biodiesel fuel purposes.
Last updated on Aug 20th, 2010 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Red palm oil”

  1. Marie says:

    Does Red Palm Oil mean that it is the oil from the dates that are red?

Comments are closed