African Food: Red Palm Oil

Palm oil

Some Palm Oil Facts:

1. Red palm oil gets its name from its characteristic dark red color, which comes from carotenes, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene, the same nutrients that give tomatoes, carrots and other fruits and vegetables their rich colors.

2. Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil.

3. Palm oil formed the basis of soap products, such as Lever Brothers’ (now Unilever) “Sunlight” soap, and the American Palmolive brand.

4. By around 1870, palm oil constituted the primary export of some West African countries, such as Ghana and Nigeria.

5. As of 2011, Nigeria was the third-largest producer, with more than 2.5 million hectares (6.2×106 acres) under cultivation.

6. Palm oil gives its name to the 16-carbon saturated fatty acid palmitic acid.

7. Unrefined palm oil is a large natural source of tocotrienol, part of the vitamin E family.

8. Red palm oil antioxidants like tocotrienols and carotenes are added to foods and cosmetics because of their purported health benefits.

9. Since the mid-1990s, red palm oil has been cold-pressed and bottled for use as cooking oil, and blended into mayonnaise and salad oil.

10. Many processed foods contain palm oil as an ingredient.


Available at:

This entry was posted in African Foods & Cuisine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *