Palm oil is a very common cooking oil used mostly in the African continent. However, it has become regarded as a contentious food item, largely due to its calorie content.
The oil, which is known to possess several health benefits, has in the recent past been perceived skeptically by food consumers as a result of reports which conclude that it is unhealthy for consumption.
This article is aimed at providing information about palm oil, its health benefits, palm oil calorie content, and its effect on human health.
First, we must state that palm oil is different from palm kernel oil.
Even though they both originate from the same plant, I.e the Palm tree, palm kernel oil is extracted from the seed of the fruit, while palm oil is derived from the fleshy part of the palm fruit. Also, their health benefits are different.
The use of Red palm oil has a long history dating back to thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were known to use it for cooking and other medicinal purposes.
According to research, no other crop yields as much oil per acre as the palm. Hence, it is one of the least expensive and most popular oils worldwide.
It also has a variety of health benefits which makes it very good for consumption, contrary to opinions that it was bad and contained lots of saturated fat which could lead to heart problems.
To give proper perspective, it is true that palm oil contains saturated fats, however, this profile is balanced by the presence of an equal amount of unsaturated fats.
Health Benefits of Palm Oil
The health benefits of palm oil are largely due to the presence of highly nutritive components. It contains a good amount of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and antioxidants which help delay aging processes.
Also, palm oil increases the level of good cholesterol and reduces the level of bad cholesterol.
Other than being a food item, It also has a wide application in the cosmetics industry as it can be used in its fractionated forms to produce cream, soaps, toothpaste, waxes, and lubricants. So, if you aren’t cooking with it, you’re likely applying it to your body.
What are Calories?
The amount of energy in a food or drink item is measured in calories. When we take in more calories than we use, our bodies store up the excess energy in the form of fat.
Studies have shown that more than two out of every three adults in America are overweight or obese, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
For many people, it is the result of taking in too many calories from food and not leading an active enough lifestyle. In addition to increased weight, eating too many calories from certain sources causes other health problems.
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The question then is, is Palm Oil calories harmful?
Red Palm oil contains roughly about 114KCal per 14grams of oil (one tablespoon).
Eating too many calories in the form of trans fat and saturated fat raises the level of total cholesterol in your blood. However, for palm oil, there has been no record that it causes adverse negative effects.
In fact, a large analysis of 51 studies found that total and LDL cholesterol levels were lower in people who followed palm oil-rich diets than those who consumed diets high in trans fats or myristic and lauric acid.
This matters because elevated levels of LDL are linked to a significantly increased risk of coronary artery disease — the leading cause of death in the United States.
Palm oil calories have an additional medicinal value as the oil can be administered to patients who have low-calorie content such as children and aged people.
Now, we can see that Palm oil isn’t to be stigmatized. Because in addition to its numerous health benefits, It is a good substitute for other oils, e.g olive oil, it has an equal amount of calories.
How to Preserve the nutrients in Palm Oil
I must add that to preserve its nutrients, palm oil shouldn’t be overheated during cooking. Not only does this destroy the nutrient component, but it also damages its color.
I believe that with these facts, you are now convinced that consuming palm oil is more beneficial than it is harmful. Read this to gain more insight into Palm Oil.
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