Carotenoids are natural chemical compounds that give crude palm oil its orange-red colour and that make palm oil red in colour. Unrefined palm oil and crude palm oil are nature's richest source of carotenoids as compared to other vegetable oils – 15 times more than carrots, and 30 times more than tomatoes.
The most active and important form of carotenoids found in palm oil is carotene (beta-carotene). Many carotenoids contain Vitamin A which is an effective antioxidant that helps to strengthen the body's immune system and reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease and cataracts. Lack of Vitamin A can lead to blindness and a variety of serious medical conditions.
Palm oil is rich in Vitamin E (tocopherols & tocotrienols). In fact, no other vegetable oil has as much Vitamin E compared to Palm Oil. Vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant, capable of reducing the harmful types of oxygen molecules (free radicals) in the body. This means they may help to protect you from certain chronic diseases, while delaying the body's aging process. Latest research shows that the tocotrienol form of Vitamin E reacts more effectively than tocopherols.
TRANS-FATTY ACID (TFA) FREE
Solid fats made from palm oil are better for health as they do not have to go through hydrogenation. The hydrogenation of oils produces TFAs along with saturated fatty acids and modifies cis-fatty acids. TFAs have been linked, by numerous scientific studies, to breast cancer, colonic cancer, and heart disease. It is also believed to contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes and impairment of brain development in newborns.
Many countries today warn consumers against intake and/or even regulate the content of TFAs in foods sold in their respective markets. This underlines the growing recognition and concern over their negative health effects.
Another reason you need palm oil is because it supplies fatty acids as well as important fat-soluble micronutrients like Carotenoids (including pro-vitamin A), vitamins D, E and K.
Fatty acids are raw materials for building the membranes of every cell in your body, including your bones, nerves and brain. The micronutrients keep your body cells healthy and functioning properly.
You would be malnourished and become sickly or prone to infections if you do not have fats and oils in your diet. The same result will happen if you lack foods that supply carbohydrates, protein, minerals and other vitamins. The best way to meet all your nutritional needs is to follow the Food Guide Pyramid – the lower the food group on the pyramid, the more of it you should eat.
Palm oil is very rich in calories. One gram of palm oil supplies 9 Kcal of energy, which is 2 1/2 times more than one gram of protein (4 Kcal) or carbohydrates (4 Kcal).
Energy should come from all groups of food, including fats and oils. Experts calculate that ordinary adults need between 1,800 Kcal to 2,000 Kcal per day, out of which up to 30% can be obtained from fats and oils.