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Health Benefits of Palm Oil, Uses And Its Side Effects

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2022

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Palm oil is usually a fruit mesocarp-derived oil that is often used as a vegetable oil in many countries worldwide. Due to the presence of various essential nutrients, it provides many health benefits, they help in improving vision, preventing certain kinds of cancer, improving cardiovascular health, etc.

Palm oils are skin and hair-friendly because it is rich in Vitamin K, antioxidants, unsaturated fats, zero Trans-Fat, etc. It particularly uplifts the immunity of the body.

Palm Oil

Palm oil, an edible vegetable oil rich in saturated fats and free of trans fats, is derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, mainly the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and to some extent from the American oil palm (Elaeis oleifera) and the maripa palm (Attalea maripa).

Palm mesocarp oil which is 49% saturated, is generally reddish in colour because of high beta-carotene content. Crude red palm oil that has been refined, bleached and deodorized, a common commodity called RBD palm oil, does not contain carotenoids. It is semisolid at room temperature. Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil.

Summary- Palm oil is quite famous for cooking globally. It is quite rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A content.

Nutritional Value of Palm Oil

One cup of Palm oil serves 1909 calories and 216 g of total lipid fat. It also offers 0.02 mg of iron, 0.6 mg of choline, 34.43 mg of Vitamin E, 17.3 µg of Vitamin K, 106.488 g of total saturated fat, 0.216 g of lauric acid, 2.16 g of myristic acid, 93.96 g of palmitic acid, 9.288 g of stearic acid, 79.92 g of total monounsaturated fats.

Palm oil contain 0.648 g of palmitoleic acid, 79.056 g of oleic acid, 0.216 g of gadoleic acid, 20.088 g of total polyunsaturated fats, 19.656 g of linoleic acid and 0.432 g of Linolenic acid.

Summary- Palm oil provides a high calorific content along with minerals, ions, and essential fatty acids. It provides various nutrients important for carrying out metabolism.

Nutritional facts Per 100 Grams

100 g
Total Fat

Health Benefits of Palm Oil

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Not only you can cook with palm oil, but this oil is used in various snack products, wax, cosmetic, and skincare items. Now even it is used as a biofuel and medicinal purposes. Palm oil is beneficial for health, diabetic person can use it as it reduced blood glucose level and enhance antioxidant status.

Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Palm Oil . We also list out when not to use palm oil in different condition, read out its origin and cultivation details to know more about it.

Palm Oil helps in improving vision

Palm is known to be rich in Beta carotene which is important for Vitamin A. Lately, this beta carotene gets converted into Vitamin A in the body and helps to improve eyesight. Other vision-related issues can be resolved by using palm oil.

Summary- Palm oil provides a positive effect on eyesight. It reduces the risk of eyesight problems by enhancing Vitamin A in the body.

Palm oil helps in preventing cardiovascular issues

Palm oil has always been credited with providing cardiovascular protection against several heart disorders. It always works efficiently to lower LDL and increases HDL levels. It is known to prevent disorders like, coronary heart disease, heart stroke, accumulation of cholesterol, etc.

Summary- Due to its nutrient content, palm oil prevents several cardiovascular disorders. It is regarded as one of the heart-healthy oils.

Palm oil helps in reducing the risk of cancer

A significant reduction in the risk of cancer can be observed by regular consumption of palm oil. The presence of essential fatty acids makes it capable to stop the metastasis process. However, palm oil used must be of high quality and must not process at high temperatures.

Summary- Palm oil is beneficial for preventing cancers. On the contrary, high-temperature processed palm oil may increase the risk too.

Palm oil helps in providing naturally soft skin

The presence of re-fattening agents in palm oil helps to restore the natural oils of skin and moisture. It helps us to attain deeply moisturized, soft and supple skin. It is also extensively corporated into creams and lotions for its moisturizing and anti-aging properties.

Summary- Palm oil is best known for its skin-softening quality. It also helps to prevent issues like itching and irritating cuticles.

Palm oil helps to improve hair growth

Palm oil also acts as a potential collagen booster which supports the reduction of hair loss. It also actively promotes hair growth by making them stronger and healthier. It also slows down the greying of hair. Regular application of palm oil leaves you a healthier and shinier hair.

Summary- Palm oil enhances collagen content which holds the hair together and promotes growth. It must be applied for reducing hair problems.

Palm oil rich In Vitamin K

Vitamin K is one of the most important fat-soluble vitamins that the body requires. It boosts bone health and also acts as a blood coagulant. Palm kernel oil contains high amounts of the vitamin K and hence is recommended for daily use.

Palm oil richly loaded with antioxidants

With a sufficient amount of Vitamin E, rarely found tocotrienols and being loaded with anti-oxidants, palm oil provides amazing anti-aging benefits. It prevents the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines. Palm oil is capable of providing protection against harmful UV rays and other toxins and hence it is healthy for the skin.

Palm oil contains unsaturated fats

The palm kernel oil is a source of healthy unsaturated fats and medium chain fatty acids. This is perfect for use as a cooking medium. Moreover, these qualities make it ideal for healthier skin, bones and joints.

Palm oil contains zero Trans-Fat

Palm oil does not contain any Trans-fat, and is hence considered as ideal cooking oil for those who are looking to shed extra pounds.

Palm oil rich in nutrients

In addition to having important fat-soluble vitamins, palm kernel oil also has high nutritional value. It has numerous nutrients that are essential for maintaining a good health. The presence of palmitic acid, considered as a 16-carbon saturated fatty acid, makes it distinctive from other cooking oils.

Palm oil helps during pregnancy

Palm oil is a rich source of multiple essential vitamins and vitamins are vital for fetal growth. Therefore, regular consumption of palm oil during pregnancy helps to avoid vitamin deficiency and promotes the proper growth of the child. It provides significant amounts of Vitamin D, A, E, and other useful nutrients too.

Summary- Palm oil must be incorporated into the diet of pregnant women. It will help them to prevent ill issues of pregnancy.

Palm oil helps in providing with energy

Palm oil has beta carotene in it which carotene assists in promoting the level of energy and enhances the balance of hormones in the body.

Uses of Palm Oil

Palm oil can be used in various procedures and due to its lower cost, it is widespread commercially. Some uses are-

  • Palm oil possesses higher oxidative stability therefore often employed for frying.
  • Palm Oil is used to manufacture many products worldwide.
  • Palm Oil is also known to manufacture certain commercial products such as cosmetics, personal care items, cleaning products, hair care, soaps, etc.
  • Palm Wax is popularly utilized for making candles.
  • It is also quite useful for manufacturing biofuel and prepackaging foods.
  • Palm is often used as fodder for livestock.

Summary- Palm oil is used to serve different purposes, like cooking, packaging material, making candles, etc. It is also being used as biofuel and feeding livestock.

Side-Effects & Allergies of Palm Oil

The consumption of red palm oil is often considered safe, even in large amounts. It rarely causes some side effects because of its composition. However, when consumed in large amounts, it leads to some adverse effects, such as

  • The skin may turn yellowish due to the presence of high levels of carotenes in the oil.
  • The topical application of red palm oil can also exert negative effects on the skin.
  • Palm oil stains on clothes are more complicated to launder.

Summary- Along with many benefits, palm oil also leads to some side effects. However, the consumption of red palm oil is more beneficial than others.

Cultivation of Palm Oil

The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) originated from West Africa, where evidence of its use as a staple food crop dates as far back as 5,000 years. There is even evidence in Egyptian tombs of people being buried with casks of palm oil, reflecting the high societal value attributed to the product. While palm oil was ubiquitous in West Africa, the use of palm oil in the international market expanded significantly as a result of the British Industrial Revolution and the expansion of overseas trade.

A combination of European settlers and entrepreneurs, observing the opportunity for commercial palm oil production to produce soaps, lubricants and edible oils lead to a dramatic expansion of oil palm plantations throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The first commercial scale plantation in Malaysia was founded in 1917 and established in Tennamaran Estate in Selangor.

Summary- The origination of palm oil is traced back to West Africa. It has been used as a staple diet for a very long time. It has large-scale commercial trade globally.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is palm oil good for your heart?

Yes, palm oil supports better cardiovascular health.

Is palm oil healthier than olive oil?

Olive oil contains richer nutrient content than palm oil.

Can I use palm oil daily?

Yes, palm oil can be included in everyday meals.


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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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