Consumed for more than 5,000 years, palm has been called nature’s gift to the world. Palm Oil is pressed from the fruit of the African Oil Palm, Elaeis guineensis. Oil is extracted from both the pulp of the fruit (palm oil) and the kernel (palm kernel oil).The high oil yield of palm trees has made it a common cooking ingredient in South East Asia and the tropical belt of Africa. Malaysia and Indonesia are the biggest producers and exporters of Palm Oil.
The increase of its use in the commercial food industry and in other parts of the world is because of its relatively low cost, its high oxidative properties and its high levels of natural antioxidants. Many food manufacturers are making the switch to palm oil due to its intrinsic health benefits, wide application, effective land use, and the development of sustainable supply chains.
This article will discuss palm oil’s health benefits, applications, land use and sustainability.
Palm Oil and Health
Palm oil is abundant, and is increasingly recognized as having a role to play in a healthy balanced diet. Like olive oil, palm oil is particularly high in cholesterol lowering monounsaturated fatty acids and is naturally cholesterol free. Palm Oil contains an equal proportion of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, both of which are important to human health.
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 “bad cholesterol”, the plasma cholesterol most commonly linked to heart disease.
Application & Benefits of Palm Oil
You may be surprised to learn that many of the foods you eat are made with palm oil.
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. This balanced fatty acid composition allows for palm oil to be stable at high cooking temperatures without the need for trans-fat creating hydrogenation.
It is healthy, abundantly available, relatively inexpensive, and technically suitable for most food products. Perhaps this is why palm oil has become the largest internationally traded vegetable oil in the world proving its acceptance in the global market.
Palm Oil occupies 0.31 % of the world’s land use. In Malaysia, for every hectare of oil palm there is 3.68 hectare of forest permanently protected for conservation of biodiversity and wildlife. Malaysia commits to conserve a minimum of 50 % of the permanent forest.
With a rising global population, there is a need for a secure and sustainable food supply. Environmental groups and general consumers are growing concerned about the ecological, social and health promoting properties of our current supply system. Palm oil cultivation has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, raising questions about long term environmental and social effects.
To lead the industry in a new direction, the Roundtable on Sustainable Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders.
As a perennial crop with year round production, palm oil has an intrinsic sustainable advantage. Palm oil trees produce fruit for over 20 years and can claim the highest yield and best energy efficiency of any vegetable oil crop.
Palm Oil has many benefits and is a vegetable oil which can be sustainably produced. When it comes to a healthy diet, palm is a great alternative to many other oils as it is naturally cholesterol free, does not raise “bad” cholesterol and contains many nutrients and vitamins. In terms of application, palm oil is relatively inexpensive and technically suitable for the production of many food products. Palm Oil only occupies 0.31% of the world’s land use and many organizations around the world are supporting the sustainable production of palm oil.
Considering all the benefits, why not make the switch to palm oil today?
Natu’oil Services Inc. is a premier supplier of certified sustainable palm oils and shortenings. To find out more about palm oil and its benefits, check out www.natuoil.com!