Here's something I found about palm oil. I also bought some from WFN and I use it mainly for cooking when I don't want a sweet or coconut taste. It's pretty tastless. I love the rich golden color it gives to rice dishes or navy bean soup. It makes food look rich and meaty (or golden buttery) and helps me disguise the fact that there's very little meat these days in our dinner :)
One problem with oils is that they eventually go rancid. Some are more stable than others. Castor oil has a very long shelf life. Flax oil will turn rancid in fifteen minutes at room temperature. Coconut oil lasts about five years, but just after three years you can taste a difference. Partially Hydrogenated oils have a very long shelf life too. This is one reason the food industry uses these trans fats in many processed foods; the shelf life is artificially extended.
Olive oil will last longer if you store it in the refrigerator. Some nutritionists have even recommended putting a little BHT into your olive oil to keep it from turning rancid. BHT is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are preservatives. Whether BHT is dangerous or not, I do not know. There is really bad Science
on both sides of that issue, but we know that oils last longer when antioxidants are added to them.
Palm oil comes with its own antioxidants. Fact is, palm oil is “highly charged” with antioxidants.
We’ve all heard of beta-carotene; a precursor to vitamin A. What you might not know is that there are some 600 compounds that make up the entire family we call carotenoids.
Besides beta-carotene, there is alpha, gamma, and delta-carotene. Also in this family are lycopene, lutein, zeanxanthin, and many, many more.
These photochemicals (plant chemicals) are also responsible for the colors in the vegetables and fruits in which they are found.
Is it any surprise to find carotenoids in a carrot? A bright orange carrot at that. We also have winter squash, cantaloupe, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and yams. Carotenoids exist in other dark green vegetables, but it’s the chlorophyll that creates the green in these veggies that overwhelms the poor carotenoids.
Carotenoids are protective. They are powerful antioxidants that protect us from free radicals which can damage our DNA and open the door to cancer and chronic illness. If you’ve read our book, Bypassing Bypass, you know that cholesterol does not cause heart disease; it is rancid cholesterol that causes heart disease. Antioxidants protect your cholesterol from going rancid. We have all heard that carrots are good for your eyes. Carotenes are responsible for protecting your vision. (Did I ever tell you about the fellow who ate so many carrots he couldn’t go to sleep at nights because he could see through his eyelids?)
Natural palm oil is a bright red/orange. It is filled with natural carotenoids, and is a very healthful oil.
Beyond the carotenoids, palm oil also contains a complete form of vitamin E.
As we have talked about in our December 04 newsletter, real vitamin E is a complex substance consisting of mixed tocopherols and mixed tocotrienols. Natural palm oil contains alpha, beta, gamma, and delta-tocopherols and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta-tocotrienols. No other source contains this much vitamin E.
Palm oil also contains phytosterols (which prevent cholesterol absorption) and another powerful antioxidant: squalene.
Palm oil is 40% saturated and 60% unsaturated. The unsaturated portion of palm oil is a monounsaturated oil, just like olive oil. But unlike olive oil, palm oil’s natural resistance to oxidation makes it a healthier and safer oil for cooking or deep-frying. If used for cooking, some of the antioxidants will be destroyed in the cooking, but still, palm oil is at least ten times better for cooking than olive oil.
Despite all of the benefits detailed above, in the 80s when the soybean interests slandered coconut oil calling it “unhealthy,” they also attacked palm oil. Suddenly products appeared on the shelves stamped “No tropical oils.”
The food industry switched to partially hydrogenated soy bean oil and we all suffered from it. Palm oil and coconut oil added to foods increases their shelf lives and are good for you. Sadly, the moneyed interests won out, and the people lost.
Points to ponder:
Palm oil has been used safely for over 5000 years.
Palm oil has is consumed all over the world.
Palm oil is an excellent dietary energy source.
Palm oil does not require hydrogenation to extend its shelf life.
Palm oil is rich in carotenoids.
Palm oil is a good source for vitamin E.
Palm oil’s fatty acids are well balanced.
Palm oil provides linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid (omega-6).
Palm oil is anti-thrombotic (reduces tendency for blood clots) and cardio-protective.
Palm oil inhibits cancer growth.
However, if you smoke, you should avoid anything that contains beta-carotene. Smokers and beta-carotene do not mix; this combination shortens your life even more than just smoking.
For the best palm oil in the industry, we recommend you go to our friends at Wilderness Family Naturals (right here in Finlayson, Minnesota on Lake Superior).
References and Further Reading
The Tocotrienol.org Website
The American Palm Oil Board
Here's the link to the above article: http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/nutrition/palm.htm