Red palm oil can be commonly found in the homes of many West and Central African homes. Perhaps, there is one in your kitchen at this moment. Over the recent years obesity has been beckoning on the doors of many Africans and along with it comes high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol. However, as you may know this hasn’t always been the case and is still not in certain parts of Africa.
The use of red palm oil can be traced back to 5000 years ago, it has been a stable ingredient in African cuisine for some time and it is currently used worldwide with countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Nigeria being its largest producers.
This versatile oil has many disadvantages and advantages and can be found in mouth-watering traditional dishes i.e. egusi, muamba nsusu and red-red to your common soap.
So, is it good or bad for you?
Touted as the “most miraculous find of 2013” by Dr Oz (a celebrity American doctor) palm oil certainly has many health benefits.
Although, red palm oil contains both polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids it contains a high amount of anti-oxidants, vitamin A precursors and Vitamin E which is important for good vision and protection against toxins respectively. It has been known to reduce blood pressure, platelet aggregation and inhibit the biosynthesis of cholesterol. However, it should be noted these effects are only found in pure unprocessed palm oil.
Does this mean you can consume as much red palm oil as possible? No, like any oil when consumed in large quantities can cause weight-gain which comes with its own boat load of health problems. Furthermore, let’s not forget the ongoing controversy the palm oil industry has in regards to the environment and sustainability. It is difficult to decide if this is the best oil to use in comparison to other oils but you can be rest assured that using pure red palm oil is not as disadvantageous contrary to public belief.
Do you love cooking with Palm oil? We want to hear from you.
Credit: www.biomedcentral.com/Wiki/Ghana News
By Lydia Spio-Ofori