Even if homework isn’t on your to-do list, we can all learn something this back-to-school season. Kids may learn about history, grammar and math, while adults may learn palm oil is a superfood found in many common products. When I appeared on South Carolina’s Columbia News10, I included this healthy fat in my list of superfoods. Malaysian sustainable palm oil’s rich nutrients and fatty acid profile may give families a healthy boost this fall.
I am pleased that so many people have become savvy label readers. Although with nutritional science changing so quickly, it can be difficult to keep the focus on what’s most important. There has been a lot of talk about fats this year. Studies have shown that we do not need to be as concerned about saturated fat as we used to be. This was also included in the latest Dietary Guidelines report. We do, however, need to avoid trans fats. This artificial ingredient, the by-product of the hydrogenation process some polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils undergo to function more like a saturated fat, has been shown to increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Many manufacturers have chosen Malaysian sustainable palm oil to replace the hydrogenated oils in their recipes. This naturally trans fat-free ingredient offers the same beneficial qualities, without the health risks. In fact, Malaysian sustainable palm oil offers health benefits. That’s why I included it in my list of superfoods.
Unrefined palm oil is red-orange in color due to the abundant beta carotene it contains. This vitamin A precursor is also in carrots and tomatoes, but Malaysian sustainable palm oil has more than 15 times the amount. This non-GMO oil is also rich in brain- and skin-healthy tocotrienols. This is a very potent form of vitamin E.
Many people don’t realize that they may already be consuming this superfood. Now only is it a replacement for trans fats, it can be found in better-for-you foods such as Smart Balance spreads and peanut butters. It’s also in Nutella, which is one of my kids’ back-to-school lunchtime favorites.
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler is a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist and expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living. She was the host for the reality show, Honey We’re Killing the Kids on TLC. She is the author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Pegasus 2011). She specializes in integrating behavior modification to influence positive health outcomes. Stoler is the published author of numerous articles on nutrition, exercise, health and wellness.