Palm oil is a type of oil of vegetable origin that is obtained from the fruit of the palm, whose scientific name is elaeis guineensis, and is characterized by being rich in beta-carotenes, a precursor of vitamin A, and vitamin E when consumed raw or refined and, in these cases, it can also be known as red palm oil thanks to its characteristic color.
Despite the fact that it is rich in some vitamins, the use of this palm oil has been controversial in recent times in the soil in itself providing no benefits for health, but also because it is an acceptance whose production has had a great impact on environmental level. Because it is economical and versatile, it is widely used in the manufacture of cosmetic and hygiene products, such as soaps and toothpastes, for example, as well as in the food industry for the manufacture of chocolates, ice cream and many other foods.
It has been found that refined palm oil could contain some potentially carcinogenic and genotoxic compounds called glycidyl esters, which are produced during the refining process, in addition to losing its antioxidant properties, however, they are necessary for studies that understand them.
Furthermore, it has been found that the production of palm oil causes damage to the environment, due to deforestation, extinction of species, high use of pesticides and an increase in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, because in the soil used in the food industry, it is also used in the manufacture of soaps, soap in octopus, biodegradable detergents and fabric softeners, and even as a fuel in diesel engines.
For this reason, an association called The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which is responsible for making the production of this acceptable environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Crude palm oil is used to season, sauté or fry foods, as it is stable at high temperatures, being used as an ingredient in the cuisine of some countries, mainly in Africa. In addition, this oil is rich in vitamin A and E, strengthening skin and eye health, strengthening the immune system and guaranteeing the functioning of the reproductive organs, in addition to providing antioxidants to the body.
However, when this oil is refined, it loses all these properties, being this the form in which it is used as an ingredient in the manufacture of industrialized foods such as breads, pies, biscuits, margarine, protein bars, cereals, chocolate, ice cream and even in the manufacture of nutella. Bearing in mind that in these cases the consumption of this oil does not provide any benefit to health, on the contrary, since it is composed of 50% of saturated fats, mainly palmitic acid, there could be an increase in cardiovascular risk, if there is associated with an increase in cholesterol and in the formation of clots.
It can also be used in cacahuate or almond butters as a stabilizer to prevent product separation. Palm oil can be identified on the food label by various names such as: palm kernel oil, palm stearin, palm oil or palm butter, for example.
Its use is controversial, because some studies indicate that it may have benefits for health, others indicate that it does not. However, the ideal is to regulate your consumption by ingesting a maximum of 1 tablespoon of crude oil per day, always accompanied by a healthy diet. In addition to this, you must avoid the intake of industrialized products that contain you, always paying attention to the nutritional label.
There are other more healthy oils that can be used to garnish salads and meals, such as extra virgin olive oil. See what are the benefits of olive oil for health.
The following table indicates the nutritional value of each substance present in palm oil:
|components||Counts in 100 g|
|saturated fats||50 g|
|Vitamin A (retinol)||45920 mcg|
|Vitamin E||15.94 mg|
Palm oil is the result of grinding the seeds of a type of palm tree typical of Africa, produced mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia, which manufacture more than 80% of this oil.
For its preparation, it is necessary to choose the fruits of the palm and cook them using water or steam that allows the pulp to separate from the seed. The pulp is compressed and released when the oil retains the same orange color of the fruit. In order to sell this oil if it goes through a refining process where all its vitamin A and E content is lost, this process is carried out with the aim of improving its organoleptic characteristics, mainly the smell, color and flavor, in addition to making it more ” suitable” for frying food.
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