There is much research on going to determine health benefits and possible risk of palm oil. In this article, we want to talk about some of these benefits of palm oil and also highlight the possible but inconclusive health risk of palm oil. The health benefits of palm oil, (also known as red oil) are numerous to count. Palm oil is sourced from the oil palm tree which produces fruits known as palm fruits. What makes this fruit very special is that almost everything about it has some form of benefits of its own to humans.
For instance, people process palm fruits to obtain palm oil which they use in preparing several delicacies in Nigeria like Banga soup, stew and much more. In addition, the palm fruit also has a palm kernel, which has an edible nut. This nut has numerous uses. It can be processed to produce palm kernel oil used for various industrial and commercial purposes. The palm kernel cake which is gotten during the processing of palm kernel oil is rich in protein and used as feed for fish and dairy cattle. As a matter of fact, the kernel itself can serve as an alternative for fuel in cooking and industrial applications.
Nutritional Value of Palm Oil
Palm oil is an ingredient of choice for many people. Its application and usefulness in preparing various delicacies makes it an indispensable part of the daily nutrition of many people. Even though there is a debatable conclusion as to whether palm oil does more harm than good to our health, the beneficial nutritional content of palm oil remains unquestionable.
We can derive many health beneficial nutrients from palm oil. The main nutritional derivatives of palm oil include
- Saturated fats.
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin K.
- Palmitic acid.
- Lauric acid.
- Palmitoleic acid.
- Linolenic acid.
- Gadoleic acid.
- Myristic acid.
- Oleic acid.
- Vitamin A.
Health Benefits of Palm Oil
Many researches on the associated health benefits of palm oil has produced ample findings that you can derive some useful healthy package by adding palm oil to your diet. Several of the health benefits of palm oil have been credited to its rich vitamin content that play important roles in maintaining proper body functions. Here are a few of the many benefits you can derive from palm oil as part of your regular diet.
Improves Eye Health
Palm oil is rich in vitamin A and that makes it good for consumption if you want to improve your vision and prevent other eye related issues. The vitamin E in red oil also helps in reducing the risk of cataracts and other health conditions due to its antioxidant properties.
Correction of Vitamin A Deficiency
Natural palm oil has been shown to be helpful in treating vitamin A deficiency in children. This is attributed to the high amounts of carotenoids available in palm oil which can also aid child growth and eye health in addition.
Rich Source of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient required in the body. Your body requires this vitamin to regulate blood calcium levels that improves bone health. More so, vitamin K is required for blood clotting (coagulation). You need vitamin K to produce prothrombin which is a protein that activates the clotting process. Studies also show that this vitamin may help in the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, osteoporosis, and optimize insulin levels.
Good for Pregnancy
Pregnant women require an additional supply of vitamins during pregnancy. A lack of these vitamins can pose great health risks to the expectant mother and her unborn child. Hence, gynecologists recommend that expectant mothers should consume foods rich in vitamin to compliment their multivitamin tablets. Red oil is a natural food rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E which is good for pregnant women.
Support Good Brain Function
Palm oil contains antioxidants that help clear harmful free radicals which can cause oxidative stress. Uncleared free radicals can put you at risk of several health conditions including hampering blood circulation to the brain resulting in poor oxygen and glucose delivery to the brain to carry out its functions. Making fresh palm oil a regular part of your diet will help your brain to function properly and prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and senile dementia.
Possible Health Risks
Even though many studies say that palm oil has protective health benefits to heart health, there are still a number of contrary studies that show palm oil may not be as beneficial to the heart. These studies are not conclusive enough to prove that palm oil can cause heart disease. Therefore, its important to note that these suggestions are just possible health risk to help you add moderation to your consumption of palm oil.
When consuming palm oil, ensure that you avoid reheating the oil as this may reduce its antioxidant capacity and may contribute to the development of heart disease. In addition, ensure that you trust the source of your palm oil before consumption to avoid consuming unhealthy processed red oil that could do you more harm than good.