The history of oil palm tree starts from the western coast if Africa where it marked its origination. It is believed that it originated in the coastal area as it is considered to be of riparian species i.e. species that is not able to grow in shades but can tolerate flooding conditions. The western coast of Africa extends towards east from Sierra Leone to areas of Congo and this was the region where it was domesticated by the native people probably in Nigeria. With the help of the people who made agricultural shifts around 5000 years ago, the plantation spread throughout Africa. It also played an important role as a food plantation in the time of ‘Pharos’.
When the Europeans reached Africa to explore the continent in around the 15th century, they discovered palm tree and that was the time the rest of the world got introduced with it. The cultivation of palm spread throughout the world and in the 19th century palm oil began to trade. As late as in the 20th century, oil palm tree was introduced into Malaysia and palm oil started to get produced commercially in 1917. With time Malaysia developed as a dominant player in the world scenario and is currently the largest producer of palm oil in the world.
The nutrition-packed vegetable oil
A member of the vegetable oil family, palm fruit oil is cholesterol free and it supplies our bodies with some basic daily energy needs.
Why palm oil is better for health?
Palm fruit oil, naturally semi-solid at room temperature, does not require hydrogenation. It is a good replacement for partially hydrogenated oils for many reasons.
Palm fruit oil is trans fat free.
Palm fruit oil provides the same “hard or solid” fat that is required for pastries, cookies, crackers and other items that require long shelf stability and a particular mouth feel or texture.
Palm fruit oil is odorless and tasteless, perfect for consumers and manufacturers alike looking for a healthy oil for cooking and baking needs.
Palm fruit oil is rich in antioxidants.
Animal studies have found that tocotrienols may have the abilty to reverse blockage of the carotid artery and platelet aggregration thereby reducing the risk of stroke, arteriosclerosis and other heart disease problems.
Animal studies have found that tocotrienols may exhibit activity against tumor promotion.
Cellular and animal studies have found that tocotrienols may inhibit certain types of cancer.
Palm fruit oil increases ‘good’ HDL, compared to other saturated oils, suach as coconut oil.to promote a healthy cardiovascular health.
Oils and fats are generally susceptible to oxidation and subsequent rancidity, however, saturated fats have a greater resistance to heat and are more stable than liquid oils. Oxidised, rancid oil contains products that are harmful and have been associated with various diseases. In contrast, Virgin Red Palm Oil contains a very rich supply of powerful natural antioxidants. Coupled with this, it contains extremely low and only a moderate proportion of linolenic and linoleic acid respectively, the two components of oils that are most readily oxidised. The combination of these properties gives Virgin Red Palm Oil an exceptional resistance to rancidity.
Stability during cooking is also an extremely important factor when choosing a cooking oil. Virgin Red Palm Oil has an extremely high smoke point of 450 degrees F / 232 degrees Celsius, meaning that Virgin Red Palm Oil does not deteriorate when heated to normal cooking temperatures.
Due to its extreme stability, delicious flavour and beautiful colour, Virgin Red Palm Oil is excellent for frying, sauté’s, casseroles, soups, sauces, baking, smoothies and all your cooking needs. The exotic red hue will bring your dishes to life.
A misperception from the past?
There’s a good chance you’ve heard palm oil erroneously referred to and grouped together with palm kernel oil and coconut oil as a “tropical oil,” a contributor to high cholesterol levels, or even as a trans-fat. Palm fruit oil is different and contains much less saturated fat than coconut and palm kernel oil.
Palm oil products are trans-fat free.
Palm fruit oil contains a variety of fats, vitamins and nutrients, but NO trans-fatty acids. Trans-fatty acids are found pre-dominantly in hydrogenated oils. Several recent studies have implicated trans-fatty acids in increasing the risk of cancer, interfering with fat metabolism, enhancing fatty deposits in the arteries, and reducing the body’s ability to rid itself of carcinogens, drugs and other toxins.
Palm fruit oil is made up of a mixture of fatty acids and contains valuable vitamins and nutrition that our bodies need. Human studies have shown that a palm oil-enriched diet does not raise the level of LDL or total cholesterol, and may even lead to lower plasma levels of LDL, the plasma cholesterol most commonly linked to heart disease. The majority of palm oil’s use in foods – in the baking of cookies and crackers, for example- is in a non-hydrogenated form.
Crude Palm Oil is the richest natural source of Tocotrienols. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has developed a special patented technology for extraction. The latest technology to purify Tocotrienols from the fruits of oil palm (Elais guineensis) was developed to produce a superior quality and purity.
Whats is Tocotrienols?
Tocotrienols are members of the Vitamin E family comprising of Tocotrienols and Tocopherols. Tocotrienols differ from the Tocopherol’s in that they contain three double bonds in the side-shain (see molecular structure). Tocotrienols Isoprenoid side chain has three double bonds as compared to Tocopherol’s saturated side-chain. In total, there are four types Tocopherols namely alpha, beta, gamma and delta and four corresponding of Tocotrienols isomers.
Alpha Tocotrienols is 40-60 times more potent than normal Tocopherols making it one of the most powerful lipid soluble anti oxidants available.
Among vegetable oils, palm oil is the richest natural source of Tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are surprisingly not found in any other vegetable oils like soy bean oil, canola oil, rape seed oil and sunflower oil. Tocotrienols can be found naturally but in much lesser quantities in rice barn, barley, wheat gem and oats.
Palm Tocotrienols complex contains significant amount of D-Alpha-Tocopherol, D-Alpha-Tocotrienol, D-Gamma-Tocotrienol and D-Delta-Tocotrenol as compared to most other naturally found vitamin E, which are mostly Tocopherols.
A Compilation of the Nutritional Effects of Palm Oil and Palm Olein
FACT 1: Palm Oil is Not Palm Kernel Oil or Coconut Oil – Palm oil from the fruit of the palm is physically and chemically different from either palm kernel oil which is derived from the seed, and from coconut oil, both of which are highly saturated.
FACT 2: Long Record of Safe Use – Palm oil has been a safe and nutritious source of edible oil for healthy humans for thousands of years. (1)
FACT 3: Consumed Worldwide – Palm oil and its liquid fraction, palm olein, are consumed worldwide as cooking oils and as constituents of margarines and shortenings; these oils are also incorporated into fat blends used in the manufacture of a variety of food products as well as in home food preparation.
FACT 4: Excellent Dietary Energy Source – Like other common edible fats and oils, palm oil is easily digested, absorbed and utilized in normal metabolic processes. It plays a useful role in meeting energy and essential fatty acid needs in many regions of the world. (2)
FACT 5: Free of Cholesterol and Trans Unsaturated Fatty Acids – Palm oil, like other vegetable oils, is cholestrol free. Having a moderate level of saturation, it does not require hydrogenation for use as a fat component in foods and, as such, does not contain trans fatty acids. (3,4)
FACT 6: Rich Carotenoids – Red (unprocessed) and red or golden (specially refined) palm oils, the major cooking oils in many parts of the world, are rich sources of beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, which some studies have found to have antioxidant properties.(5)
FACT 7: Vitamin E Antioxidants – Palm oil and palm oil products are naturally occuring sources of the antioxidant vitamin E constituents, tocopherols and tocotrienols. These natural antioxidants may act as scavengers of damaging oxygen free radicals. Some studies have suggested that antioxidants may play a protective role in cellular aging, atherosclerosis and cancer. (6,7,8,9) .
FACT 8: Balanced Fatty Acid Composition – Palm olein contains a mixture of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. The relative concentrations are 44% oleic acid, 10% linoleic acid, 40% palmitic acid and 5% stearic acid. The concentrations of palmitic and oleic acids are reversed in unfractionated palm oil i.e. 44% and 40% respectively. The fatty acid composition of palm oil is similar to that of the adipose tissue in most people on an ordinary diet.
FACT 9: Provides Linoleic Acid: An Essential Fatty Acid – Palm oil triglycerides carry linoleic acid predominately in the 2-position, which favors absorption and availability for use in the body
FACT 10: Favorable Nutritional Studies – Human feeding studies and epidemiologic data have found that palm oil and palm olein have effects on blood cholesterol levels that are similar to olive oils. (10,11) In several studies of normocholesterolemic men and women, a diet that included palm oil resulted in reduced blood cholesterol compared to entry level values, and palmitic acid (16:0) (which comprises 90% of palm oil) was found equivalent to oleic acid (18:1) insofar as it affected cholesterol metabolism. (11,12,13) There is evidence that a balance between linoleic (18:2) and palmitic (16:0) acids may be required to maximize HDL levels. (14) Substitution of palmitic acid (16:0) from palm oil or palm olein for the lauric acid (12:0) and myristic acid (14:0) combination from palm kernel or coconut oils leads to a decrease in plasma and LDL cholesterol. (15,16,17) Of several fats tested, including a fat blend approximating American intake, a palm oil-enriched diet fed to hamsters induced the highest level of protective HDL-chlolesterol and the greatest production of liver LDL receptors, key to removal of harmful LDL-cholesterol from the blood. (18)
FACT 11: Thrombosis – Rats fed a palm oil-enriched diet were found to have a reduced tendency for blood clotting. (19)
FACT 12: Cancer – Red palm olein is a source of carotenoids which some animal studies have found to inhibit some types of cancer. Animal studies have found that a diet containing palm oil, as compared to lard, beef tallow, corn oil and soybean oil, exerted an inhibitory effect on the development and incidence of experimentally -induced breast cancer in rats. (20,21) Animal and cellular studies have also found that tocotrienols inhibit the growth of cancer cells in vivo (22,23) as well as in vitro. (24,25)