From its health and beauty benefits, to Malaysia’s protection of its wildlife
and rainforests, there are many reasons to feel good about this ingredient.
Malaysian sustainable palm oil is an ingredient in many prepared foods, and is increasingly considered one of the world’s healthiest cooking oils. The conversations about this healthy oil are ramping up as well because of Malaysia’s behind-the-scenes efforts to help protect and maintain a healthy earth. While palm oil has been used for more than 5,000 years in many parts of the world, here in the U.S. we are just learning to fall in love with Malaysian sustainable palm oil.
Here are ten excellent reasons to feel good about palm oil, and feel even better about the fact that most of the sustainable palm oil in the American food supply comes from Malaysia.
- It has no unhealthy trans fats. Malaysian sustainable palm oil is naturally trans fat-free. Always has been. Always will be.
- Malaysia is preserving its rainforests. Malaysia has mandated protection of at least 50 percent of its rainforest cover.
- Palm oil is wholesome. It is nature’s richest source of vitamin E tocotrienols. Malaysian sustainable palm oil is good for the brain, the heart and the skin. It is also cholesterol free.
- Malaysia is a friend to wildlife. The Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund has been actively protecting orangutans, elephants, proboscis monkeys and their native habitats for years. Malaysia is a world leader in orangutan conservation, and the Fund recently helped build the world’s first pygmy elephant sanctuary.
- Oil palms don’t cause deforestation. Oil palm trees have a 25-year lifespan. Plus, Malaysia has had a zero-burning policy for nearly 20 years. It also takes substantially less land to produce the same amount of palm oil than other common cooking oils. A single-hectare oil palm plantation yields 4.2 tons of palm oil per year. That same amount of land only yields 0.36 tons of soybean oil or 0.42 tons of canola oil.
- Red Malaysian sustainable palm oil has more beta-carotene than tomatoes or carrots. A tablespoon of this red palm oil contains 240 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps strengthen the body’s immune system. It’s also associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and cataracts.
- Malaysian sustainable palm oil is non-GMO. Oil palm plantations also require fewer fertilizers, pesticides and energy than other edible oil crops.
- Palm oil is heat stable. Unlike some oils, including olive oil, Malaysian sustainable palm oil doesn’t lose its nutritional value at high heat. It also doesn’t degrade into dangerous compounds at common baking and frying temperatures as with other cooking oils.
- Malaysian sustainable palm oil helps guard against dangerous inflammation. It contains less inflammatory omega-6s than most other oils, such as canola, soybean and corn.
- Malaysian sustainable palm oil is an almost decadent ingredient. If you want a richer, more buttery texture to your food, without changing the flavor, palm oil is a healthy addition. At room temperature, it’s semi-solid so it’s great to substitute for butter or margarine as a spread on bread or potatoes. There’s no need to shy away from this ancient oil if you see it on the label. We also need healthy fats such as palm oil for our brain, our skin and our sexual health.
Bonus reason to love Malaysian sustainable palm oil: It plays a role in weight loss. Fats aren’t the enemy when you’re trying to lose weight. We need fats to feel good, to absorb essential nutrients and for satiety. It’s more important to have quality fat versus no fat.
Robin Miller is a health and nutrition editor with more than 30 years of industry experience. She researches and writes about the nutritional benefits of palm fruit oil, with the goal of giving readers factual, science-based information that will be useful in their daily lives.