Palm Oil and the Controversies Around it: Is it Good or Bad? Here’s What You Need to Know
Palm oil is one of the most popular and affordable cooking oils in the world. It comes from the fruit of oil palms, Elaeis guineensis tree which is native to West and Southwest Africa. It has been used as a cooking ingredient for over than 5,000 years. Although palm oil is extremely popular, it can be considered a controversial cooking ingredient due to health and environmental reasons.
Nutrition and Health
One tablespoon of palm oil has a nutritional composition of:
- Fat:14 grams
- Saturated fat:7 grams
- Monounsaturated fat:5 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat:5 grams
- Vitamin E:11% of the RDI
Palm Oil Health Benefits
Palm oil has been associated with multiple health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, protection of brain functionality, and improving vitamin A status.
Tocotrienols, a type of vitamin E containing strong antioxidant properties, are found in palm oil. They have the ability to protect the polyunsaturated fats inside the brain. These fats play a role in reducing the risk of stroke, slowing the onset of dementia, and preventing the growth of brain lesions.
Palm oil is heavily associated with improved heart health. Primarily, it has the ability to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Increasing your level of HDL cholesterol helps to improve blood flow and prevent the onset of heart attack or stroke.
Improved Vitamin A Status
Palm oil is a great way to improve a vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiencies can make pregnancies dangerous and cause skin problems.
Potential Health Risks
The major controversy of palm oil is that studies have come out to suggest that it can actually be bad for your heart health. This is primarily due to its high saturated fat content which potentially can clog your arteries and raise your cholesterol. Reheating the oil (a common way to utilize it) also lowers the antioxidant capacity and can lead to heart disease.
Palm oil is ultimately not extremely healthy or unhealthy. It should be used in moderation and sparingly, both for your health and for the sake