When it comes to tropical oils, coconut oil is the most well-known and widely used, but a new tropical oil is beginning to becomes more prevalent in both the health and beauty industries. Palm oil is the second most common produced vegetable oil worldwide, but it is just now getting some major attention. According to the American Palm Oil Council, palm oil has been consumed and used for a variety of health benefits for more than 5,000 years. Find out what palm oil is and what benefits it has below.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil comes from one of the few fatty fruits in existence and has a fatty acid composition different from other plant and animal oils. Palm oil is comprised of 50 percent saturated, 40 percent unsaturated and 10 percent polyunsaturated fats, and it is also loaded with several phytonutrients:
- Alpha-, beta- and gamma carotenes (carotenoids)
- Tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E derivatives)
- Phenolic acids
Benefits of Palm Oil
- Anti-Aging – Vitamin E harnesses its antioxidant power to fight off free radicals that cause skin damage and fine lines and wrinkles, and vitamin E in the form of tocopherol is a common ingredient found in anti-aging beauty products because it is a powerful antioxidant. While tocopherol is a great anti-aging ingredient, palm oil contains a derivative of vitamin E that is even more intense and is a stronger antioxidant than tocopherol. Tocotrienols are harder to find than other vitamin E derivatives and are able to penetrate your skin in order to provide protection from the base up.
- Moisturizing – Palm oil is found in numerous skin care and beauty products ranging from cleansers to lotions, and even in some foundations. Vitamin E has been used for a long time to treat problematic skin because it is nourishing and palm oil is a great source of vitamin E. As stated above, palm oil penetrates the skin deeply and while this provides protection, it also provides deep conditioning to your skin.
- Lowered Disease Risk – While palm oil is still being studied in regards to its disease-related benefits, palm oil is associated with lower risk of:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Blood clotting
- Cognitive decline
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Macular degeneration
- Vitamin A deficiency
There is some controversy surrounding palm oil and whether or not it is actually beneficial to your health, but there is positive research that suggests palm oil does provide health benefits. As with all oils, you want to look for palm oil that has been cold-pressed and unrefined. If you use a palm oil that has been refined, you negate any of the positive impacts that it can have for your health, so be sure to buy cold-pressed, unrefined palm oil.