No, not that oil, red palm oil. Although to be honest, it is an ongoing debate in the nutritional appropriateness warfare – the benefits of palm oil. Even setting aside for a moment the adverse environmental impact on its harvesting, extending to pitting it against its erstwhile cousin, coconut oil, there continues to be ongoing discussion and some disagreement about whether palm oil is the new-old wonder food. As with most debates, this one has some truths, some fallacies and some issues left to the discretion of the speaker and hearer to interpret.
Red palm oil is the second most consumed vegetable oil in the world, right behind soy bean. The oil itself is derived from the fruits of the oil palm and can be consumed in its fresh and oxidized states. Fresh red palm oil is one of the major edible oils in tropical countries; populations in West and Central Africa as well as those in Central and South America have labeled palm oil as literally a sacred food, as it serves as a base ingredient in many local cuisines. Most countries in the West like the United States, have been relatively slow to recognize its unique nutritional and medicinal values. The US imports a relatively low amount, about 2%-3% of the total global market of 50 million metric tons. This amount represents less than 8% of vegetable oil consumption. Virgin, unrefined palm oil has many key benefits
It reduces the risk of a variety of disease processes In its fresh state, it has proven to have a positive impact on the treatment of coronary heart disease among other diseases including cancer and hypertension.
It is the richest source of vitamins A & E It also contains high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin A precursors and vitamin E which are essential for a healthy immune system, skin and eyes.
And believe it or not, it can help you lose weight Your traditional oils and fats like margarine, types of vegetable oils and trans fats are difficult to digest, take a long time to break down, and when they do are eventually stored as fat. Red palm oil is an easily digested fat that goes right to liver once consumed and enables higher metabolism. This means you’ll burn calories at a much faster rate.
As the debate continues well into the ‘spin room’, there are a couple of absolutes. If red palm oil is your oil of choice, it is best to use it in its virgin state and walk away very quickly from oxidized, processed and hydrogenated versions. Be very mindful that the oxidized versions of palm oil sometimes hides itself within some of your everyday products such as confectionery items, soups, crackers and margarines even in soaps and detergents.
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