Natural-Habitats
organic products grown in a sustainable habitat

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

Screen_Shot_2015_06_08_at_14_46_02_png.jpg
08 June 2015

cooking, health

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them. But why is it the case? It contradicts to the simple logic we are used to follow for many years, that all saturated fats are bad for us. Let’s try to puzzle out the ambiguity.

The first general concern in respect to palm oil is as follows: if it contains saturated fat, it must contain cholesterol. However, only animal fats contain cholesterol and palm oil, as a vegetable oil, includes absolutely no cholesterol. Like all the other unrefined vegetable oils, red palm oil contains modest amount of plant sterols that are similar in structure to cholesterol. Plant sterols do not cause heart disease, but they can lower blood cholesterol. When consumed together competition between the two reduces the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed in the blood stream. Therefore, the plant sterols or phytosterols in red palm oil can help to improve blood cholesterol levels.

Another common belief is that palm oil is an “artery-clogging saturated fat.” The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) was using this statement to instil fear into people’s minds against tropical oils. However, it is not only untrue, it also does not make sense. Saturated fat does not clog arteries. Studies of the fatty acids in arterial plaque reveal that most of the fat that clogs up arteries is unsaturated. Only oxidized fat become sticky and cling to artery walls. Saturated fats are highly resistant to oxidation and are not easily oxidised.

Finally, the most widespread concern over palm oil is that it raises blood cholesterol. It is actually true that saturated fats tend to raise level of blood cholesterol. However, this issue is complicated. There are nine different saturated fatty acids and only three of them raise blood cholesterol. Moreover, no oil is one hundred per cent saturated or polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. All natural fats contain a combination of all three of fatty acids and, therefore, each dietary fat will have a different effect on blood cholesterol, depending on its fatty acids profile. Red palm oil is exceptionally rich on phytosterols, tocopherols, and tocotrienols, all of which have cholesterol lowering effect. Palm oil used in a normal diet does not have a harmful effect on cholesterol.

Palm oil has had a long history of food use, dating back to over 5000 years. It has been used for generations by the people of tropical Africa as an essential ingredient in ethnic dishes. It is actually the nutrition-packed beneficial fat source that can supply number of health benefits to the body. It is a natural source of vitamin E & carotenoids in addition to fatty acids and other essential fat-soluble micronutrients.

References:
Fife B. (2007) The palm Oil Miracle. Colorado Springs, USA : Piccadilly Books

 

Blog & News

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them

cooking, health

Red Palm Oil to Combat Vitamin A Deficiency

According to the World Health Organisation, An estimated 250 million children under the age of 5 are having vitamin A deficiency, an estimated 250 000 to 500 000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them die within 12 months of losing their sight.

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the main cause of severe visual impairment and avoidable blindness in children. It reduces their immunity and makes them more susceptible to infections, diseases and even deaths from common childhood diseases like measles and diarrhea.

Pregnant women suffer with VAD, especially during the last trimester of their pregnancy

health, social reponsibility, cooking

Sierra Leone support initiative

Natural Habitats has been working with more than 1000 small farm holders in Sierra Leone (<3ha/average). Our organic and fair trade training programs have been focused in the social and productive growth of small farm holders from more than 112 villages.

Due to the Ebola virus outbreak, we have been forced to stop our field operations, but our commitment with the social development of the country goes further than the current externalities; this is why, we would like to create a support platform to somehow mitigate the high social impacts the virus is fast spreading throughout the small West African country

cooking

Fat does not make you fat!

Certain foods are good for your health. As any type of food, fats should be eaten in a balanced fashion. As a result of balanced fat eating, you may achieve leanness. The advantage of fat for our bodies is that it promotes health and supports hormones balance. Fats include a diverse array of fatty acid profile and provide massive amounts of essential nutrients. Certain types of these fats have also been shown to be antimicrobial, improve digestion, and enhance protein synthesis in response to strength training, while reducing muscular soreness.
Fat can make you fat, if you eat it in excess, as any other food

cooking, health

The Five Keys for food safety

The Five Keys for food safety

A healthy diet begins with safe nutrition and knowing how to handle, prepare and store food in order to avoid illnesses. “Food safety is a public health priority, millions of people fall ill every year and many die as a result of eating unsafe food” (WHO 2014). More than 200 diseases are spread through food according to research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Food safety is defined as all the conditions and practices that prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses (Hanning, Crandall and Ricke 2012)

cooking, health, environment, social reponsibility

Agricultural practices

There is a direct connection between agricultural practices and health.
Firstly, agriculture produces outputs that contribute to good health, such as the staple foods that sustain most of the developing world, but some agricultural outputs may also lead to ill health when contaminated. Second, agriculture interacts with the environment in a variety of ways that affect human health. Third, agriculture affects the income earned and labor supplied by people who work in the sector—both of which provide opportunities and risks for good health

farmers, cooking, social reponsibility, health

Recycling

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Thus, recycling can benefit the community and the environment. In this post, recycling will be discussed and some ideas will be provided to boost recycling skills.

Recycling is the process of making or manufacturing new products from a product that has originally served its purpose

social reponsibility, cooking

BioFach

BioFach is the largest trade fair for organic food in the world, being the meeting place of all businesses and customers that share the organic credo: “Organic is more than a label or certification: organic stands for quality and conviction – for the responsible use of nature’s resources.” (BioFach ).

In February 2013, Natural Habitats participated at the 24th edition of BioFach

farmers, cooking, environment, social reponsibility, partnership, health

From palm trees to palm oil

In this blog post, the types of palm trees will be discussed, in particular the oil palm and its uses in everyday products.

Palm trees are a gift from nature– a gift that has produced fruits loaded with energy and precious nutrients. There are two main types of tropical palms and one main kind of desert climate palm (Phoenix dactylifera¬– considered sacred in North Africa and surrounding regions)

farmers, environment, health, cooking, social reponsibility