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Oct 14, 2020
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Not as scary as they imagine. Truth and myths about palm oil

Palm oil is often used in cooking and in the manufacture of various foods. At the same time, one can very often hear discontent on the part of social activists who endow palm oil with a whole range of negative signs. In fact, as some experts say, palm oil is not as dangerous as it is painted. And this is confirmed by various studies.

Heart and blood vessels

One of the most feared systems in the human body in terms of palm oil consumption is the cardiovascular system. Moreover, the controversy on this issue often flares up serious. But scientists approached the matter rationally and conducted a study evaluating the effect of oil on serum lipid profile and cardiovascular disease. The main argument against using palm oil is that it contains palmitic acid, which is fatty. Therefore, it is believed that its excess can lead to an increase in cholesterol levels, including bad ones.

However, a fairly large number of studies, which were carried out both in humans and in animals, show that the consumption of palm oil does not increase this parameter.

Here it is rather the opposite. In addition to palmitic acid, palm oil contains oleic and linoleic acids, which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, respectively. Palm oil also contains vitamins A and E, which are often referred to as powerful antioxidants. And it is scientifically proven that palm oil protects the heart and blood vessels from plaque and ischemic damage. And if you use this product as part of a diet, then there will be no harm to the heart and blood vessels.

A photo: Malaysian Palm Oil Producers Council

Also, according to the results of various studies in which different groups were taken to study, including those where there are people with bad habits, there was no evidence of a connection between mortality from coronary heart disease, for example, and the use of palm oil.

The researchers note that they took samples of the subjects' venous blood to compile the report. To study and determine the difference in the groups of volunteers, the consumption of palm oil and olive equivalent was prescribed. As a result, not only blood was assessed, but also body mass index and waist circumference. As a result, it turned out that palm oil can be considered the equivalent of olive oil.

Antioxidant Solution

In connection with various diseases, including cardiovascular, the work of antioxidants is considered, which allows the body to free the body from the breakdown of waste products and toxins, thereby allowing it to become healthier. The E family consists of tocopherols and tocotrienols, experts say. Structurally, these two groups are similar, but there are still small differences. Vitamin E has traditionally been associated with tocopherols, which were discovered about 100 years ago. They are found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

But the more recent discovery is considered tocotrienols, which were discovered 30 years ago. This group includes palm oil. Approximately 75% of the vitamin E from palm oil is composed of tocotrienols. Another source of this group is found in the bright red seeds of the achiote tree. These substances are similar in structure. But at the same time, there are a number of hypotheses that tocotrienols have 40-60 times more activity than the usual tocopherols. For example, they can be neuroprotective in stroke.

Cystic fibrosis

The special effects of red palm oil have also been studied in patients with cystic fibrosis. In people with this pathology, the concentration of antioxidants in the blood plasma decreases against the background of impaired absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Beta-carotene is an important source of retinol. And the aim of the study, which was conducted by a group of scientists, was to examine the effect of daily consumption of red palm oil, which is rich in beta-carotene, on antioxidant levels in people with cystic fibrosis.

A photo: Malaysian Palm Oil Producers Council

The subjects were asked to fortify food with 2-3 tablespoons of palm oil every day for 8 weeks. Their blood levels were measured for carotenoids, retinol and alpha-tocopherol. The main sources of carotenoids are fruits and vegetables. In this case, an alternative source can be red palm oil produced in the regions of Africa and Southeast Asia. It is considered healthy. Moreover, it is extremely easy to enrich the diet of people with cystic fibrosis with such oil.

Benefit for health

One of the important components of a healthy diet is beta-carotene, which was mentioned above. Moreover, it is important for everyone, not just for patients with cystic fibrosis. It is a fat-soluble substance that provides 50% of vitamin A. It is often called a powerful antioxidant that can slow down the development of cataracts, protect the skin from sunburn, and prevent macular degeneration.

According to doctors, adults and children should receive 700-900 mcg of vitamin A in the diet. Foods that contain high amounts of it are easily identified by their distinct orange color or red tint. For example, it can be sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots. It should be understood that vitamin A is fat-soluble, which means it should be used along with healthy fats for better absorption. And as such a healthy fat, according to the researchers, palm oil can act. Its color even indicates that it contains a lot of this useful vitamin, and according to tests, it contains 15 times more beta-carotene than carrots.

In general, international research shows that palm oil is not at all harmful, as it is often presented. On the contrary, various tests show that there is tremendous benefit hidden in it.

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