Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Pros and Cons of Palm Oil

Palm oil is a type of edible oil extracted from the fibrous fruit of the tree bearing the same name. Widely used as a basic ingredient of food products from margarine to cream cheese, and cosmetic items like soap, palm oil to this day is one of the most commercially important edible oils around the world. Though it certainly is a good addition to a healthful diet, reasonable consumption of this edible oil is still advised due to a number of reasons.

Read further and discover more about the pros and cons of palm oil and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this source of dietary fats.

Palm Oil Benefits:

Unrefined palm oil consumption along with a balanced diet have been found to provide cardio-protective effects. As it turns out, such a diet combination results in the lowering of the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), the “bad” cholesterol, and the increasing of the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), the “good” cholesterol. Furthermore, unrefined palm oil’s carotenoids and antioxidant content work together to reduce the synthesis of cholesterol  as well as the levels of fat storage in the body.

Palm oil is quite unique in that it is currently the only edible known to contain high levels of tocotrienols, a class of vitamin E that provides profound positive effects to the body. Tocotrienols, for instance, appear to protect against the formation of tumors and blood clots and so show potential as a dietary therapy for preventing cancer and heart diseases. Furthermore, tocotrienols in palm oil may prevent the formation of plaques in blood vessels and therefore may be useful for preventing ischemic stroke and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases as well.

Palm oil consumption may prove useful for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels as well. In an animal study, the balanced saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids profile, as well as the abundant carotenoids and nutrient composition of palm oil, provide potent protection against oxidative stress-induced hypertension in rats.

Palm Oil Risks:

Palm oil appears to affect blood in that consumption of this edible oil results in the latter’s thinning. It is for this reason taking palm oil as a dietary supplement a month prior to a surgery is advised against as the chances of uncontrolled bleeding during the operation may be increased.

Palm oil in manufactured food products is in its highly oxidized form owing to the processes used like repeated use and exposure of the edible oil to high temperatures. Oxidized palm oil contains toxins which can adversely affect the liver, kidneys, lungs, and heart.

Consuming refined and therefore oxidized palm oil appears to cause gastrointestinal maladies like indigestion as well. It is for this reason utilizing only “virgin” or the least refined form of palm oil is advised. Not only does this contain all the crucial nutrients but is easier to digest as well.

Palm Oil Practical Uses:

Palm oil, particularly the unrefined variety, has quite a distinct flavor. Consider using this edible oil to fry homemade delectable snacks made from plantains. Season with some powdered red pepper and salt and store in an airtight glass jar once cool.

Stir frying over low fire with palm oil is worth considering as well. Use about a teaspoon or two to stir-fry chunks of grass-fed beef, bison, buffalo or lamb along with some onions, garlic, and vegetables of choice like carrots and peas.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of cold press flax oil and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this dietary source of fats.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the dietary sources of fats on the Superhuman Food Pyramid:




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