The health benefits of palm oil include its ability to improve energy levels and vision, prevent chronic diseases, boost immunity, prevent premature aging, protect against heart diseases. Palm oil is also beneficial for pregnant women.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is an extremely useful vegetable oil derived from the pulp of the of the fruit of oil palms. The main varieties that are used in the production of palm oil are African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and American oil palm (Elaeis oleifera). Palm oil is naturally reddish-orange in color because of its high beta-carotene content. It is also one of the very few naturally saturated vegetable fats that increase the LDL cholesterol levels in a person’s body.
Palm oil is commonly used as cooking oil in Africa, Southeast Asia, and certain countries in South America. It has become more popular in other parts of the world in recent years because of the health concerns of having too many trans fats in the diet.
Health Benefits of Palm Oil
There are a number of health benefits associated with palm oil. Let us discuss them in detail below.
Improves Energy Levels
Beta-carotene is one of the prime components of palm oil which is very good for improving energy levels and boosting hormonal balance in the body. Palm oil is a natural source of antioxidant, which helps prevent oxidative damage, say researchers from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, India.
Crude palm oil is a rich source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is extremely important for improving vision, as per Elsevier’s Nutrition Research. Antioxidants, found in palm oil, act as powerful defensive mechanisms for the body. They are the beneficial by-products of cellular metabolism and can protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for cellular breakdown and mutation, including the damage that can cause vision issues. Using palm oil as a replacement for other types of oil can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
Prevents Cardiovascular Issues
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition throws light on nonhypercholesterolemic effects of a palm-oil diet. Palm oil has a high content of HDL and LDL cholesterol, but even though one is good (HDL) and the other is bad (LDL), it can still create a healthier balance in your body. High levels of LDL cholesterol can increase your chances of atherosclerosis, which can cause strokes and heart attacks. By maintaining a healthy balance of cholesterol, you can ensure a healthier cardiovascular system.
Prevents Chronic Diseases
A report on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases by WHO/FAO Expert highlights the overall significance of palm oil for health. Tocopherols, a form of vitamin E, are natural antioxidants that can help prevent chronic diseases.
Supports Healthy Pregnancy
Vitamin deficiencies are some of the most dangerous conditions that are faced by pregnant women and unborn children. Vitamin A, D, and E are found in considerable quantities in palm oil, and since the body cannot naturally retain these vitamins, it is necessary to consume them in our diets. Thus, adding palm oil to the diet will ensure no occurrence of any vitamin deficiencies.
Word of Caution: Avoid intake of palm oil if you have high cholesterol levels in your body.