Even though, palm oil has been used for generations in many parts of the world as a healing food, it is just now getting the recognition for its many benefits as a super food. Dr. Oz termed it as “the most miraculous find of 2013,” and now considered a health alternative to Soya oil.
What is palm oil?
Palm oil is derived from the plant’s fruit, which grow in clusters that sometimes weigh 40-50 kilograms. A hundred kilograms of oil seeds typically produce 20 kilograms of oil. In Africa, much of palm oil harvesting is done by owners, and the plant fruit clusters are harvested by hand, making it a difficult task in the tropical climate where oil palms thrive. While oil palms can live longer than 150 years, and exceed 80 feet in height, they are usually cut down or poisoned after 25years because anything beyond 30 feet tall becomes a challenge to harvest.
Palm oil is cultivated in many places around the world. The largest producers are found in Southeast Asia. In these countries, it is mostly cultivated on large-scale. Environmental activists have continually lobbied against this form of cultivation because many forests have been destroyed in order to cultivate on such a large scale, and it has had major devastating effects on natural habitats and greenhouse emissions. What is advocated by many environmental activists is intercropping which many small-scale palm oil producers practice in some parts of Africa, which is friendlier to the environment and natural vegetation.
Health Benefits of Red Palm Oil and red palm oil nutrition
In its raw form, also called virgin palm oil, it is darkish red in color. This coloring comes from the abundance of carotenes in it. This is the same ingredient that gives fruits such as carrots and tomatoes its colors. When buying red palm oil, buyers need to be careful that it’s organic and not the refined one where dealers have bleached and deodorized it in other to achieve the vibrant red color of red palm oil. The process they use in achieving the red color strips the oil of its carotenes thereby reducing its beneficial effects.
Red Palm Oil contains an abundance of vitamin A. When someone as a vitamin A deficiency, it causes poor vision and blindness, compromised immunity, impaired mental function and fragile bones. The vitamin A derived from red palm oil contains a lot of carotenes, considered better for you as compared to the one derived from animal products, that is expensive and if taken at a high level can sometimes be considered poisonous for you. Another benefit of Red Palm Oil is that it is considered cholesterol-free and also a rich source of vitamin E which is an anti-oxidant. Studies have suggested that a regular dose of vitamin E helps to reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Apart from being edible, Palm Oil is also used in the manufacturing of industrial products such as soap, toothpaste, washing powders, ink, waxes and lubricants. It is also one of the many raw materials in biodiesel production, a fuel that is derived from vegetable oils or animal fats. Biodiesels are biodegradable and, when burned, have fewer emissions than traditional petroleum-based fuels. Typically, biofuels are blended with other traditional petroleum-based fuels, though it is possible to run existing diesel engines purely on biodiesel, something which holds a great deal of promise as an alternative energy source to replace fossil fuels.
As you can see Palm Oil is a well-rounded fruit that is not only good for your health but also for the environment.