Palm Oil is The Healthiest Vegetable Oil
In Indonesia, palm oil is known as a raw material for cooking oil that has several advantages. The balanced fatty acid content makes palm cooking oil can be used for deep frying with a high level of stability, not easy to rancid so that the fried products are durable and do not contain free radicals. These characteristics are very suitable with the eating habits of Indonesian people who like crispy food. The application of palm oil in the food sector is not limited only for cooking oil, other food products also use palm oil such as margarine, shortening, cocoa butter substitute and chocolate, youghurt, ice cream and many more.
However, despite the large role of palm oil to fullfilling food needs, there are still many black campaigns by accusing the content in palm oil that are not good for human health. The black campaign re-published in public spaces some time ago. Palm oil is considered equivalent to harmful food additives such as artificial sweeteners, flavorings, preservatives and dyes that are carcinogenic and may lead other chronic diseases. Spreading the issue aims to bring back the “Palm Oil Free” movement.
Equalizing palm oil with dangerous food additives is not in accordance with the results of empirical studies conducted by academics and nutritionists in the country and abroad. In fact, the expert reseachers refer to palm oil as “the world’s richest natural plant” because palm oil contains various vitamins and fatty acids that needed by the human body.
Source of Vitamin A. Content of beta-carotene or Provitamin A in palm oil role as prekusor of vitamin A in the body. Palm oil contains about 6700 μg of vitamin A and became the richest source of vitamin A than other vegetables and fruit. For each of the same volume, palm oil actually contain vitamin A as much as 15 times the content of vitamin A in carrot, 100 times more than the content of vitamin A in banana, and 300 times more than the content of vitamin A in orange. The ammount of vitamin A contain in palm oil acts as an antioxidant that can protect body cells from free radical, that can strengthen the body’s imunity and produces antibodies to fight viruses and bacterias.
Source of Vitamin E. Palm oil also contain Alpha tocopherol or vitamin E, it consists of 20 percent tocopherols and 80 percent tocotrienols. The abundant content of tocotrienols in palm oil makes palm oil as a food source with a rich antioxidants that are beneficial to body cells and organs. Vitamin E in palm oil reaches 1,172 ppm, or higher than other vegetable oils such as soybean oil (958 ppm), corn oil (782 ppm), sunflower seed oil (546 ppm), olive oil (51 ppm) and coconut oil (36 ppm).
The richest antioxidants contents in vitamin A and E, in addtion to sthrengthen the body’s immune system, but also proven to inhibit of cancer. Many study mention that the consumption of palm oil is beneficial for suppressing the growth of cancerous cells, lowering and controling the growth (weight and volume) of tumors and preventing many other degenerative diseases. As a footnote, palm oil is more effective compared to soybean oil in the prevention of degenerative diseases because the antioxidant content of palm oil, especially tocotrienol, is twice the amount found in soybean oil
Balance Proportion of Saturated Fatty Acid and Unsaturated Fatty Acid. The fatty acid composition of palm oil is consists of saturated fatty acid (44 percent palmitic fatty acid, 5 percent stearic fatty acid), 40% monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), 10% poly unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and 0.4% alpha linolenic fatty acid. Dr Puspo Edi Giriwono from Seafast IPB revealed that palm oil is the most healthy for vegetable cooking oil compared to other vegetable oils. Its caused only palm oil has the charateristics. Other vegetable oils such as coconut oil, soybean oil, corn oil and sunflower seed oil has unbalaced of unsaturated (85-90%) and saturated (10-15%) fatty acid. Even though the composition of saturated and unsaturated fatty acid relatively balanced, experts believe that palm oil has the behavioral characteristics of monounsaturated oils.
The characteristics of palm oil are also evidenced by the researchers conclude that the consumption of palm cooking oil is not harmful to human health. On the contrary, the consumption of palm oil actually improves body cholesterol by increasing the level of “good” cholesterol or High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and decreasing the level of “bad” cholesterol or Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides while lowering body fat deposition. Therefore, the consumption of palm oil actually helps lower the risk or prevents various diseases associated with the level and quality of blood cholesterol, such as cardiovascular and arteriosclerosis.
Palm Oil Doesn’t Contains Trans-Fatty Acids. Trans-fatty acid is detrimental melandato human health. Therefore, many western countries prohibit the use of trans-fatty acid in food. Trans-fatty acid is derived from hydrogenation (in particular the partial hydrogenation process) to increase the density of oil in the production of edible oils such as soybean oil. Palm cooking oil, which naturally has a stable composition of saturated fatty acid and unsaturated fatty acid, is already semi-solid with a melting range of between antara 33oC–39oC and therefore hydrogenation is unnecessary in the process so trans-fatty acid will not appear. In conclusion, palm cooking oil does not contains free trans-fatty acid.
An interesting finding is that the consumption of both fully hydrogenated soybean oil and partially hydrogenated soybean oil hampers the production of insulin glands, increases the level of blood glucose and lowers HDL cholesterol (Sundram, et al., 2007). On the contrary, the reseachers revelad that It is the consumption of palm oil as a food product has no effect on insulin secretion and diabetes. Even, Bovet et al., (2009) revealed that lowering the intake of palm oil will actually increase cases of diabetes. It’s means consumption palm oil without hydrogenation process and doesnt contains trans-fatty acids more healty than consumption soybean oil that may lead to diabetes.
Palm Oil Contains Essential Fatty Acid. Palm oil contains 36.3% essential oleic fatty acid; 8.3% essential linoleic fatty acid; and 0,5% linolenic fatty acid in palm oil. The data above show that palm oil contains essential fatty acid in a balanced amount and is even similar to the composition of essential fatty acid in breast milk.
The content of vitamins and fatty acids (saturated, unsaturated and essential) which is very rich in palm oil is needed by the body. Especially in the Covid-19 pandemic in the world including in Indonesia, consumption of palm oil product able to sthrengthen body’s immune system so prevent infected by Corona virusses. So, stop spreading black campaigns by equalizing palm oil is as dangerous as additives (artificial sweeteners, flavorings, preservatives and dyes), and be honest by saying that palm oil also has a greate benefits for human health.
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