Is Palm Oil Terrible?

What we eat can undoubtedly influence our health in the short and long term. Not all foods can be consumed indiscriminately. On the contrary, for some of them, the rule is to make a measured or occasional use to avoid unpleasant consequences for the body.

Palm Oil: Properties And Nutritional Values

In this regard, according to various clinical evidence, it is good that lipids are suitably balanced in the diet and included between 25% and 30% of the total daily caloric quota. The optimal breakdown for fatty acids should be no more than 7-10% for saturated, around 20-22% for monounsaturated and around 7-8% for polyunsaturated, with an omega-6/omega-3 ratio possibly 5:1. Thus, the diet should be controlled in the intake of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids and at the same time, perhaps rich in foods of vegetable origin.

The excess of saturated fats, especially of animal origin (cream, butter, lard, lard…), but also of hydrogenated fats, can lead to an increase in the levels of blood triglycerides and total cholesterol, negatively affecting the ratio between “good” ” (or HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (or LDL); on the other hand, unsaturated fatty acids would have the advantage of counteracting organic inflammation and improving the plasma lipid profile, increasing the HDL fraction of cholesterol, with the simultaneous decrease in triglycerides. Thus, among the various properties of polyunsaturated fatty acids (species omega-3), the antihypertensive, antiarrhythmic and antithrombotic properties emerge.

It follows that it becomes essential to be able to integrate through the diet and in the appropriate quantities, some sources of noble fatty acids, such as oilseeds and dried fruit, oily fish, cold-extracted oils from various vegetable sources (flax, sesame, sunflower, wheat germ, hemp, soy, peanut, grape seed, corn) excellent above all as a raw condiment. As for the extra virgin olive oil, its monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) and its precious content of tocopherols (vitamin E) also carry out an essential organic action of a hypocholesterolemic and anti-inflammatory type.

Palm Oil And Hydrogenated Fats

Suppose it is true that virtue lies somewhere in the middle and that damage to health is often caused by abuse (and this also applies to palm oil) and an unbalanced diet. In that case, it is also essential to remember that, unfortunately, today, hydrogenated fats and palm oil are increasingly used in processing pre-packaged food products due to their remarkable thermal and organoleptic stability and shelf life characteristics and their lower cost. Even though vegetable fats subjected to hydrogenation and palm oil itself do not contain cholesterol, metabolically, they are, in any case, capable of playing a hypercholesterolemic and atherogenic role.

Thus, a diet loaded with these fats can be a risk factor for dyslipidemia and cardiovascular complications. Even the culinary use of margarine and other preparations based on hydrogenated fats cannot be defined as a correct food choice. The generic term “vegetable oils” has been stopped, obliging food companies to declare on the label the type of fat used (palm, soy, rapeseed, coconut, peanut …) in their products. It should be remembered that currently, on a world level, rapeseed oil is second only to the production of palm and soybean oil; this vegetable oil is produced from the seeds of rape (Brassica napus oleifera), while the “canola” is the oil derived from some selected varieties of rape (Canadian Brassica) and which are characterized by their low erucic acid content, considered toxic to the human body.

In the United States and other foreign countries, rapeseed oil (canola variety) is also widely used for cooking, as a frying oil and as a condiment. This oil has an appreciable content of monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic and gadoleic) and polyunsaturated fatty acids, with a relatively limited amount of atherogenic saturated fats (palmitic), is in any case, a refined, transformed and chemically treated, extracted and rectified product. Using solvents, high temperatures and pressures, therefore, deacidified, decolourized, deodorized and demargination to deprive it of possible unwanted substances; all these processes deplete it of its tocopherol and phytosterol content and, at the same time, enrich it with a small percentage of trans fats.

Also Read: Castor Oil Benefits For Health And Beauty

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