Palm Oil Advantages and Disadvantages
With the increasing health awareness among the masses, there is a strong opposition and ban on the excessive use of Trans fats in the vegetable oil used for cooking. The premise of this is that these Trans fats are responsible for the majority of the lifestyle diseases rampant among the individuals today. Therefore with all those news regarding the minimal use of Trans fats in the food or cooking, Many food manufacturers in the west have stopped using the trans-fat in their products.
Palm oil is produced from the palm fruit and contains no trans-fat and Palm oil has long been used in cooking in West Africa and Southeast Asia. It is commercially beneficial to the food manufacturers as:
- Palm oil prolongs the shelf-life of many products. Palm oil usually appears in margarine, baked goods and candy but is also used in other ways.
- Palm oil is cheaper than other oils, and is naturally cholesterol free.
Though palm oil does contain a high level of saturated fat, so there is some controversy regarding whether it is a healthy choice.
- It provides a source of dietary energy,
- It is easily digested
- It is an essential fatty acid.
- It’s cholesterol-free and
- It is rich in carotenoids, which are a precursor of Vitamin A.
- It’s also rich in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that can protect against free radicals.
- It’s readily available, inexpensive and neutral in flavor, making it good to use in most types of cooking.
- Because palm oil is free of harmful trans-fats, it’s especially good in dishes that require “hard or solid” fat, such as pastries, cookies or crackers.
- It’s also tasteless, so it’s good to use as a base oil for sautéing or frying food.
- The oil may reduce carotid artery blockages and reduce the risk of heart disease, among other health benefits.
- Palm oil also helps with cholesterol: It increases the HDL, or “good” cholesterol.
- It does not have to be “hydrogenated” to be used as a binding fat. Hydrogenated oil means that the oil has been hardened by chemicals to become solid. This is the process that creates “trans fatty acids. These trans-fats can be bad for the heart and other organs. The body will naturally absorb the fatty acids in palm oil.
- Palm oil naturally exists in a semi-solid state, so it’s a healthier option. Many products now use palm oil in place of hydrogenated oils, consumers can find this information on product labels.
- The saturated fat content is too high to be part of a healthy diet. Too much saturated fat can lead to heart problems. It can raise cholesterol.
- Palm oil may reduce the ability of the blood to clot. So for those who are already on blood thinners or are concerned about excessive bleeding, palm oil should be avoided.
If you are looking for the healthiest alternatives for cooking oil, olive oil or canola oil may be your best bet.
- Using palm oil in moderation is the best way to maximize its benefits and minimize its disadvantages.
- The more oxidized the palm oil is, the less healthy it is. The oxidation process seems to destroy the carotenoids that would otherwise contribute to its possible health benefits.
- Using palm oil is still better than using partially hydrogenated oils, which are those that contain Trans- fats.
- Using palm oil as part of a balanced diet ensures the best health benefits.