Many debates about palm oil question whether palm oil is good for the environment, which eventually raises another important question: Is palm oil good for us?
The nutritional profile of palm oil is very similar to that of other cooking oils. One tablespoon contains 120 calories and 14 grams of total fat, including 7 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
This content is similar to other vegetable oils, although they have differences in the amount of fat. Palm oil contains more saturated fat than olive oil (almost the same as butter), but lower than other tropical oils such as coconut oil.
Low cholesterol palm oil
Palm oil contains monosaturated and polyunsaturated oils, which are known to be beneficial for health. It also contains saturated fat, which can be linked to cardiovascular problems, but research shows that “palm oil does not increase the risk of cardiovascular problems” when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Palm oil is also free of cholesterol, a waxy substance that can increase the risk of heart disease. There is even evidence that eating foods containing palm oil can reduce cholesterol levels: in a 2015 clinical trial published in the journal Food and Function, palm oil and olive oil both reduced cholesterol by as much as 15 percent.
Palm oil does not contain trans fat
Palm oil also does not contain trans oils, which are known to be unhealthy. Vegetable oils such as soybean, rapeseed and sunflower are liquid at room temperature, so in order for them to be used in a wide variety of products, processes must be carried out to make them semisolid. This process, known as hydrogenation, creates the trans fats linked to cardiovascular disease.
Palm oil is naturally semisolid at room temperature, meaning it doesn’t need to be hydrogenated and contains no trans fats. Mentioned in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, replacing trans fats with palm oil can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood fat levels.
Palm oil has an important role to play in helping to improve diets in many countries around the world that prohibit or limit the content of trans fats in foods. Many food manufacturers are turning to palm oil as a natural alternative to foods that require solid or semi-solid fats.
There is also evidence that palm oil has additional health benefits. This oil is high in tocotrienols, as well as vitamin E with antioxidants. Some research says that tocotrienols can slow the process of dementia and reduce the risk of stroke. Research suggests that palm oil will be of great help to people suffering from vitamin A deficiency, especially those suffering from cystic fibrosis, which can inhibit the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Palm oil is contained in a wide variety of products so it is impossible to avoid. The good news is that palm oil can be made part of a balanced diet, so there’s no reason to avoid it.
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