Whenever the name of Palm oil pops up, people start saying that it is not good for health. And if you ask them why? Many of them won’t be able to answer back. This is what we all are hearing about the oil and it is a preconceived notion which is running from generations. In our daily life, we are using Palm oil in the form of Ice cream, pizza dough, lipstick, instant noodles, shampoo, chocolate, cookies, bread and a lot more things. Still, we deny accepting the fact that how good this Oil is.
Health and benefits of Palm Oil
Palm oil is used from over 5,000 years and is a fruit oil. It is the only oil with a balanced fat composition, between its unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Palm oil has shown to increase the HDL Cholesterol which is beneficial for human being and the same is highlighted by NUS study. Some of the health benefits:
Carotenoids: If you wonder where the red colour of Palm oil comes from then this is the natural chemical compound playing the role. Carotenoids contain “Vitamin A” which helps in reducing the risk of cancer, cataract and heart disease and strengthens the body’s immune system.
Trans Fat-Free: Every other oil apart from Palm Oil has to go through Hydrogenation which produces Trans Fatty acids. TFAs has been indicated as a cause of colonic cancer, Heart disease and breast cancer. Palm Oil is free from Trans Fatty acids as it does not go under hydrogenation.
Vitamin E: Palm oil is richer in Vitamin E than any other vegetable oils. Vitamin E ( tocopherols & tocotrienols) is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps in protecting from certain chronic disease.
Calories: 1gm of Palm oil gives 9 Kcal of energy, whereas protein gives only 4 kcal or carbohydrates = 4 Kcal.
Nutritious Oil: Fat-soluble micronutrients like Carotenoids (including-vitamin A), vitamins D, E and K is supplied by Palm oil.
Uses of Palm oil
Palm oil is found in almost 50% of the products that you see in the supermarket which includes food and non-food items. The Industries using the oil are Pharmaceutical, Snack Manufacturers, Personal care and cosmetics (mainly palm kernel oil), Foodservice/service industry.
So why companies use Palm oil so extensively? The answer lies in the characteristics like it is resistant to oxidation which helps in giving products a longer shelf-life; good for frying as it gives crispy and crunchy texture as it is stable at high temperature; colourless and fragrance-free so that aroma of food products and colour remains unchanged.
Palm oil – Essential for food Security
Oil which uses fewer fertilizers, fewer pesticides, uses less land and more efficient than any other vegetable oil is considered to be the best and all these are the advantages of Oil Palm. Palm oil is certified by organizations such as the Round table on Sustainable Palm Oil and the German ISCC. Malaysia has established its own certification scheme called Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) for palm oil production. Certification enables sustainable production and verification along with the supply chain for palm oil and ensures the end products are certified too. Consumers play a major role in ensuring that this trend will increase, to improve the industry and the supply chain.
The earth will house almost 9 billion people by 2050, as predicted by United Nations FAO. For this, 150 million additional tons of oils and fats will be needed every year. For producing 150 million tonnes of oil, we will be requiring a lot of land. Which crop should be used?
Why don’t we use an alternative?
Over just 10% of the land, Palm oil take cares of 35% of the world Vegetable oil demand. For Soybean or Coconut oil the land requirement will be 4 to 10 times higher. Palm oil yields 7 – 10 times more oil per hectare than other oil-bearing crops.
Is palm oil’s success its greatest enemy?
The increasing success of palm oil and its increasing presence in different kind of industries have raised an alarm for other oil companies. So many attempts have been made to degrade the oil but due to its uses, it has never been replaced. In most of the industries they use Palm oil, only due to its various benefits, it cost less and healthier as compared to other oils.
To know more about Palm Oil MPOC – Malaysian Palm Oil