Red Palm Oil has recently come into the spotlight as a nutrient-rich staple food following numerous health researches that were able to establish the profound medical value of the oil. Also known as virgin palm oil, the red oil has been around since time immemorial. It was regarded as a sacred healing oil by the ancient Egyptians because of its tremendous health benefits.
Red palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis). Until recently, it was erroneously believed to be no more useful than palm kernel oil which is derived from the seed or kernel of the same fruit. Nothing can be farther from the truth because red palm oil is packed full with powerful phytonutrients like beta carotenes (which account for its dark red colour), lycopene and tocotrienols.
Furthermore, it’s amazing that this oil provides about 7000 retinol equivalents of carotene per 100g of weight, which is about 17 times the amount of carotene in carrots. Similarly, the abundant tocotrienol (a form of Vitamin E) found in red palm oil is about 40 – 60 times more potent than tocopherol (another form of Vitamin E) in terms of antioxidant properties.
Needless to mention, that these phytonutrients have been shown to offer considerable protection for major body organs like the brain, heart and blood vessels. Contrary to popular belief among some folks, in this write-up, it’s my pleasure to intimate you with some of the amazing health benefits you can enjoy from consuming fresh red palm oil.
1. Lessens Risk of Stroke
Numerous studies have revealed that red palm oil significantly reduces the risk of suffering an attack of stroke. For instance, in a study funded by the National Institute of Health, the risk reduction of stroke associated with red palm oil was found to be as high as 50%. Red palm oil confers this amazing effect in several ways. First, by virtue of its anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties, it prevents and/or reverses plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) in the blood vessels of the brain which reduces the incidence of ischaemic stroke. Apart from that, red palm oil has been shown to be the most important source of tocotrienol, an antioxidant which confers significant neuroprotection on the brain which is the reason why it’s employed in the treatment of stroke patients.
2. Improves Heart Health
Red palm oil has been proven to enhance cardiovascular health in several ways. This beneficial effect has been largely attributed to tocotrienols and mixed carotenes found in ample quantities in fresh red palm oil. Unhealthy inflammation taking place within the blood vessels has been shown to be a necessary precursor for plaque formation and buildup (atherosclerosis) leading to increased peripheral resistance to blood flow and obstructing circulation to vital organs, especially the heart and brain. Fortunately, the vast array of protective anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in red palm oil not only block but can also reverse the process of atherosclerosis and thereby offer protection from hypertension and heart attack.
3. Decreases Cancer Risk
Arguably the most potent anticancer nutrient known, tocotrienol in red palm oil blocks and mops up harmful free radicals and prevents them from causing oxidative injury to vital body organs. By this action, it fights against cancers of the breast, pancreas, liver, skin, stomach, colon and prostate. Moreover, apart from inhibiting cancer growth, tocotrienol also initiates apoptosis, a process that leads to a programmed death of mutated cancerous cells in the body.
4. Improves Vision
Deficiency of vitamin A has been shown to be the leading cause of night blindness. However, red palm oil enhances the absorption of this fat-soluble vitamin in the intestines. Also, red palm oil is loaded with alpha- and beta- carotenes which are important precursors in the synthesis of vitamin A. It’s equally worthy of mention that some studies have linked red palm oil to a decrease in the incidence of cataracts and macular degeneration which are leading global causes of blindness.
5. Protects from Degenerative Brain Disease
Neurodegenerative diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and senile dementia can be kept at bay by making fresh red palm oil a regular part of your diet. It contains powerful antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and improve blood flow to the brain. Improved circulation to the brain delivers oxygen and glucose which are indispensable for brain functioning. Therefore, individuals with adequate regular intake of red palm oil are less likely to suffer cognitive impairments than others.
6. Improves Skin Health
Red palm oil in your diet can help you to maintain a healthy, supple skin. Tocotrienols and carotenes present in this oil accumulate in the epidermis of the skin and shield the largest organ in the body (that is the skin) from harmful ultraviolet rays. This may also explain why red palm oil has been linked to reduced risk of cancers of the skin.
So what’s next? Avail yourself of this cheap yet very valuable oil and enjoy the aforementioned benefits. However, ensure that you opt for fresh red palm oil and not the processed, halogenated oil that has lost most of its nutritional value and can only endanger your health.