Palm Oil

All the qualities of Palm Oil make it one of the world’s healthiest oils. Not to be confused with Palm Kernel Oil, it is commonly used in both the food and cosmetics industries. The oil is known and appreciated for its rich vitamin structure and abundance in nutrients that are important both for our skin, and our bodies. In the cosmetics industry, Palm Oil is used mostly for making natural soap. It is also found in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, creams, makeup and sun tanning lotions. As a natural vegetable oil, it contains no trans-saturated fatty acids or cholesterol. As one of the richest dietary sources of pro-vitamin A carotenes (alpha and beta-carotene), Palm Oil contains 15 times more pro-vitamin A than carrots and 300 times more so than tomatoes. It also contains vitamins E and K, alpha and beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, squalene, phytosterols, flavonoids, phenolic acids and glycolipids. In addition to vitamin A, Palm Oil contains all four forms (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) of tocotrienols. They are a super potent form of vitamin E, and have up to 60 times the antioxidant activity of ordinary vitamin E. Recent medical studies have shown that Palm Oil can protect against many health problems. Some of the health benefits are improved blood circulation, boosted immune system, protection against heart disease and cancer. The oil also supports healthy lung and liver function, promotes eye health, and stronger bones and teeth. Other benefits are improved nutrient absorption and protection against mental deterioration including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and even Schizophrenia. These conditions all involve the death of brain cells. The strong tocotrienols found in Palm Oil aid the brain by reducing oxidative stress and improving blood flow, diminishing the risk of development for such disabilities. The oxidation of lipids resulting in free radicals has been proven to be a cause of many skin diseases, including skin cancer. In her research, Dr. Betty Karmen, PhD notes that tocotrienols (found in Palm Oil) have been proven to be 40-60 times more effective than common tocopherol in preventing lipid oxidation.

History

Palm Oil has been used as both a food and medicine for over 5000 years. The ancient Egyptian pharaohs regarded Palm Oil as a sacred food. Archaeologists have found the remains of Palm Oil in tomb excavations near Abydos (Egypt) dating back to 3000 B.C. In regions where Palm trees grow (tropical Africa and Southeast Asia), Palm Oil is a necessary part of a healthy diet just as olive oil is in the Mediterranean.

Geography

The oil is cold pressed from the meat of the Elaeis guineensis (oil Palm) fruit. The Palm tree is native to West Africa and it flourishes in the humid tropics, mainly in the coastal belt up to 20 degrees north or south of the equator. Palm Oil is semi-solid at room temperature and holds very little scent. The unrefined oil comes as an orangey-red color while the refined version is of a yellowish-white color when solid and clear when liquid.

Tips

Controversy has revolved around the production of Palm Oil for the last decade. Issues of great concern have been centered on the deforestation of rainforests, exploitation of workers, and the destruction of the natural habitats for certain species, specifically Orangutans. Producers and consumers of Palm Oil have responded to these issues by forming the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO.ORG). The goals of this group are to develop strategies, guidelines and an inspection and certification system for Palm plantations around the world. Their objective is to show that these certified palm plantations are sustainable and are not practicing deforestation to expand their productivity. We purchase our Palm Oil only from RSPO-approved suppliers who are also members of this group.

Skin & Body Care

Due to the oil’s high content of strong vitamin E and carotenoids, Palm Oil is very beneficial for both skin and hair care. Both beta-carotene and vitamin E can prevent damage from sunburns and delay the skin from prematurely aging. As a powerful antioxidant vitamin E also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It can help lighten scars and stretch marks. Vitamin E not only helps fight free radicals in our skin, but in turn it can also prevent them from forming in the first place. Palm Oil has an uncanny ability to help restore the natural oils that occur on the skin and hair, ultimately preventing dirt and oil from sticking to its surface. Its moisturizing properties help keep the skin soft.

Hair Care

Palm Oil contains many vitamins such as A, E, and K, and an abundance of vitamin E and beta-carotene (vitamin A). Studies have shown that Vitamin E can aid with hair loss and help with hair growth. Since Palm Oil has an abundance of vitamin E, it can help prevent hair loss, while conditioning and moisturizing the hair. Vitamin E found in Palm Oil helps dry hair, dry scalp, split ends, it helps for the capillaries to grow, and therefore provide more circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. It is thought that with the increase of circulation it should aid with hair growth/loss and as a result, Palm Oil will help add shine while nourishing your hair and scalp.