This week’s new food of the week challenge involves trying a new oil; red palm oil. Red palm oil is a healthy oil made from the fruit of the oil palm tree. It gets its name from the deep red color of the oil in its natural, unprocessed state. It is a nutritional powerhouse that has amazing health benefits and is easy to add to your diet.
Red palm oil has the highest amounts of vitamins A and E of any plant based oil. Its dark red color comes from carotenes, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (vitamin A), and lycopene. These nutrients are what gives vegetables like carrots and tomatoes their color. Red alm oil actually has more carotenes than tomatoes or carrots. Red palm oil also contains at least ten other carotenes, including the antioxidants, tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E).
According to the Coconut Research Center:
[Red palm oil]…… consists of 50 percent saturated fatty acids, 40 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, and 10 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. The high saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid content makes palm oil a very heat resistant and stable oil. The high saturated fat and antioxidant content makes it extremely resistant to oxidation and free-radical formation….. Studies show that adding palm oil into the diet can remove plaque build up in arteries and therefore, reverse the process of atherosclerosis.
Red palm oil is a dietary supplement in many countries. There is some research that suggests that it boosts your metabolism. The health benefits can be achieved by incorporating only 1-2 teaspoons into your daily diet.
Use in Cooking
Use red palm oil for baking, sautéing, and dips. I like to use it in stews, sauces, and stir fries. The fatty acids in palm oil are very stable and are excellent for medium heat cooking. It’s smoking point is 437° F. Substitute this oil for what you are currently using in your kitchen.
Just like coconut oil, red palm oil is solid at room temperature. You should store it in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Refrigeration isn’t needed.
Where to Find Red Palm Oil
Red palm oil is imported from Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. You can find it most grocery stores with other oils. When selecting a brand, it’s important to buy organic, unprocessed oil. Organic oil means there are no pesticides used on the trees. Unprocessed, unrefined, or virgin means that the oil hasn’t been refined and still retains its health benefits. It’s really important to find sustainable brands and products. Due to deforestation in Southeast Asia and Africa by palm growers, you want a brand that supports sustainable growers efforts to protect the environment. I like the Nutiva brand of palm oil(affiliate link). They offer an organic, unrefined product and they support sustainable growers in Ecuador.
Red palm oil is an easy food to add to your diet this week as part of the New Food of the Week Challenge. Substitute it for the cooking oil you are currently using and add the health benefits to your diet today. I tried it in this for Malaysian Curry Laksa.
Let us know how you use red palm oil this week and how you liked it. Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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