Smart Publications

Clarifying the Complex World of Nutrition Science

  • Email this article
  • Print this article
  • A
  • A
  • A

Advantages of Cooking with Red Palm Oil

Palm Oil is Rich in Antioxidants!

Red palm oil is a minimally processed palm oil that naturally contains tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E), and carotenoids (vitamin A)—which gives the oil its red color. It comes from the fruit of the tropical palm tree Elaeis guineensis, and has been used as a nutritious source of oil for thousands of years in Asia and Africa.1

-Sponsored Ads-

Advanced Prostate Formula

Save 25% to 50% on ProstaE8
Prostate Protection Formula

These natural antioxidants act as scavengers of oxygen free radicals and are believed to play a protective role in cellular aging, atherosclerosis, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease.2345

The Richest Source of Carotenoids

Red palm oil has a higher bioavailability of antioxidant nutrients (proportion of nutrients that are usable by the body) than other vegetable sources6 and is a particularly important dietary oil for people who are not taking an excellent vitamin E supplement, with tocopherols and tocotrienols, and full-spectrum carotenoid nutritional supplement. It is considered the richest natural source of carotenoids with concentrations of 700-1000 ppm. That's 30 times more than is contained in carrots!

There are over 600 different naturally-occurring carotenoids—the red, orange, and yellow plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vivid colors. Most fruits and vegetables contain varying concentrations of carotenoids, but their colors are often covered up by green chlorophyll contained in the plant.

Red palm oil contains high concentrations of beta- and alpha-carotene, which make up approximately 90% of its total carotenoid content. Importantly, red palm oil is one of the few excellent dietary sources of alpha-carotene, which has been shown to have even more powerful anticancer effects than beta-carotene.

The most widely studied and well understood nutritional role for carotenoids is their pro-vitamin A activity. Vitamin A can be produced within the body from certain carotenoids, notably beta-carotene.7 Scientists believe that because of its high carotenoid content red palm oil may enhance immune system

Moreover, it is well recognized that the carotenoids are most stable and best absorbed in the presence of fat, which acts as the carrier. In addition to the beta-carotene, which accounts for 55% of the carotenoids in red palm oil, it contains several other carotenoids which have properties different from their pro-vitamin A activity. Alpha-carotene (35%), lycopene, phytoene, and zeta-carotenes are the other major constituent carotenoids in red palm oil. All of these carotenoids have shown impressive anti-cancer properties, and unlike synthetic beta-carotene supplements, red palm oil contains a natural mix of many carotenoids.

The Power of Vitamin E to Improve Blood Lipids

Vitamin E has been shown over and over again to help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raise "good" HDL cholesterol, reduce risk of heart attack, rev up the immune system, fight cancer, and lower the risk of developing cataracts. It is one of the most important phytonutrients in edible oils. But while most people think vitamin E is just a simple vitamin, it's actually much more. In fact, vitamin E isn't one compound, but rather a series of related compounds that have vitamin E activity including four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta).

A healthy diet contains a mixture of all these vitamin E compounds, but most dietary supplements contain only large amounts of alpha tocopherol, which do not simulate the blend of tocopherols and tocotrienols that is necessary to insure a balanced intake of vitamin E-like compounds. A chemical analysis of red palm oil shows that it contains abundant amounts of many tocopherols and tocotrienols.20

Tocotrienols have been found to significantly inhibit HMG-CoA reductase (the enzyme that controls the rate at which cholesterol is synthesized), which ultimately results in lower cholesterol.21 This same effect has been shown in people after they ingest palm oil.22 

Red palm oil is not hydrogenated, not processed with toxic solvents such as hexane, and contains no trans-fatty acids. Moreover, it is well recognized We've been hearing a lot lately about the dangers of trans-fatty acids—how they raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and other blood lipids, lower HDL (good cholesterol), and increase the risk of diabetes. The problem is that just about every type of processed food contains some trans-fats. Now, thanks to a new government ruling, the labels on all packaged foods will have to divulge how much of the notorious artery-clogging fats they contain.

Trans-Fatty Acids: Why Are They So Bad?

Unfortunately, trans-fats and the foods that contain them make up the bulk of fat consumption in our Western diet. They're found in margarine, fast food, deep-fried foods—including French fries and potato chips, baked goods, processed convenience foods, candies, cured and aged foods such as sausages, luncheon meats, and some cheeses. Stay away from these kinds of foods. Stick with fresh, wholesome foods, and cook with red palm oil!

Most supermarket oils are processed, oxidized, hydrogenated, deodorized, bleached, de-gummed or otherwise altered. These unhealthy fats contain trans-fatty acids that are created by heat, as in deep frying, and by hydrogenation.

Hydrogenation extends the shelf life of food products and makes liquid fats solidify so they're easy to spread on bread and crackers, etc. A good example is oil and vegetable shortening. Oil is a liquid at room temperature; it is hydrogenated to produce solid vegetable shortening. The process of hydrogenation also increases the saturated fat content. Unfortunately, this process produces trans-fatty acids, which your body doesn't like, and which plays a major role in disease.23 

This, of course, increases the risk of atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a weakened immune system. Even so-called "healthy" margarines and those marked "cholesterol-free" contain trans-fatty acids that should be avoided. Whenever you see "hydrogenated" or "partial hydrogenated" on a food label, there is trans-fat in the product.

A recent follow-up of the well-known Framingham Study showed a strong link between margarine intake and coronary heart disease. The study tracked 832 men who were free of coronary heart disease when the study began. During the 21-year follow-up, about a third (267) of the men had suffered a previous heart attack. When the men's margarine and butter intake was compared, the results showed that the margarine significantly increased the risk of heart attack. Interestingly, butter did not play a role in heart attack prediction at all! Other studies of margarine and trans-fatty acids link their consumption to premature aging and to the development of atherosclerosis, cancers, tumors and other serious illnesses.2425

More than 50% of the world's consumption of fats and oils is in the form of solid fats. The use of solid fats is a necessity especially in the making of biscuits, breads, buns, cakes, and pastries. Invariably, the food industry hydrogenates liquid oils to convert it to solid fats. In the process, trans-fatty acids are formed. Solid fats made from red palm oil however do not require hydrogenation, and thus palm fats are trans-free.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

Editor's Note:

The natural health solutions described in these article are available through many on-line retailers including those listed below. By clicking these links you help support the important alternative health research we provide.

Visit NutriStand – The Nutrition Newsstand from the Supplement Man for Science-Based Nutritional Supplements!

Visit International Antiaging-Systems for hard to find therapies. They specialize in Tomorrow's Treatments Today™.

Visit – a great way to find competitive deals on supplements offered by many different manufacturers.

Visit VitaE8 - The Ultimate Vitamin E – to learn more about the importance of full-spectrum vitamin E supplements.

These articles are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a physician before embarking on a dietary supplement program.


  1. Cottrell, R.C., (1991) Nutritional aspects of palm oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 53: 989S - 1009S.

  2. Walton, J.R. and Packer, L. (1980) Free radical damage and protection: relationship to cellular aging and cancer. In: Vitamin E, a Comprehensive Treatise, ed. L.J. Machlin, Marcel Dekker, Inc. New York, pp. 495-517 

  3. Hirai, S., Okamoto, K., and Morimatsu, M. (1982). Lipid peroxide in the aging process. In: Lipid Peroxides in Biology and Medicine, ed. K. Yagi, Academic Press, New York, pp. 305-315 

  4. Cross, C.E., (1987). Oxygen radicals and human disease. Ann Int Med. 197: 526-545 

  5. Elson, C.E. and Qureshi, A.A. (1995). Coupling the cholesterol and tumor- suppressive actions of palm oil to the impact of its minor constituents on 3- hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase activity. Prosta Leuko Ess Fatty Acids. 52: 205-208.

  6. You C.S., et al. (2001), "Bioavailability and vitamin A value of carotenes from red palm oil assessed by an extrinsic isotope reference method." Proceedings of Food Technology & Nutrition Conference, International Palm Oil Congress 2001, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  7. Britton, G. (1995). Structure and properties of carotenoids in relation to function. FASEB J., 9:1551-1558.

  8. Bendich, A. (1989). Carotenoids and the immune response. J. Nutr., 119:112-115. 

  9. Edem DO. Palm oil: biochemical, physiological, nutritional, hematological, and toxicological aspects: a review. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2002 Fall;57(3-4):319-41.

  10. Olmedilla B. et al., (2002), "A European multicenter, placebo-controlled supplementation study with alpha-tocopherol, carotene-rich palm oil, lutein or lycopene:analysis of serum responses." Clin Sc (Lon)., 102(4):447-456

  11. Manorama R., et al., (1997), "Red palm oil for combating vitamin A deficiency." Asia Pac J Clin Nutr., 6(1): 56-59

  12. Cooper K.A. et al. (2002), "Lack of influence of red palm oil on severity of malaria infection in pre-school Nigerian children."Trans Royal Soc Trop Med and Hygiene, 96:216-223

  13. Sylvester. P.W., Russell, N., lp, M.M. and lp, C. (1986). Comparative effects of different animal and vegetable fats fed before and during carcinogen administration on mammary tumorigenesis, sexual maturation and endocrine function in rats.Cancer Res. 46: 757-762

  14. Sundram, K., Khor. H.T., Ong, A.S.H. and Pathmarathan, R. (1989). Effect of dietary palm oils on mammary carcinogenesis in female rats induced by 7,12- dimethylbenz (a) anthracene. Cancer Res. 49: 1447-1451 

  15. Komiyama, K., Iizuka, K., Yamaoka, M., Watanabe, H.,Tsuchiya, N and Umezawa, 1. (1989). Studies on the biological activities of tocotrienols. Chem Pharm Bull 37:1369-1371

  16. Goh, S.H., Hew, N.F., Norhanom, A.W. and Yadav, M. (1994). Inhibition of tumor promotion by various palm oil tocotrienols. Int J Cancer. 57:529-531

  17. Guthrie, N. Nesaretnam, K., Chambers, A.F. and Carroll, K.K. (1993). Inhibition of breast cancer cell growth by tocotrienols.FASEB J. 7:A70 

  18. Guthrie, N., Chambers, A.F, Gapor, A. and Carrol, K.K. (1995). In vitro inhibition of proliferation of receptor-positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols. FASEB J.9:A988 

  19. Yamanushi TT, Ichinose T, Seto H, Sagai M, Torii MI, Igarashi O. The effect of dietary carotenoids on lung tumorigenesis induced by intratracheally instillated diesel exhaust particles. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Feb;47(1):32-9.

  20. Edem DO. Palm oil: biochemical, physiological, nutritional, hematological, and toxicological aspects: a review. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2002 Fall;57(3-4):319-41.

  21. Qureshi AA, Burger WC, Peterson DM, Elson CE. The structure of an inhibitor of cholesterol biosynthesis isolated from barley. J Biol Chem 1986;261: 10544-50. 

  22. Wood R. O'Brien B. Kubena K et al. Effect of palm oil and other dietary fats on serum lipids and lipoproteins. In: Loke KH, Basiron Y. eds. Progress, prospects and challenges toward 21st century. Proceedings of the PORIM International Conference, 9-14 Sept 1991. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: PORIM, 1991:41 

  23. Kromhout D, et al. Dietary saturated and trans-fatty acids and cholesterol and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease; The Seven Countries Study. Prev Med. 1996;24(3):308-315.

  24. Awad AB, et al. trans-fatty acids in tumor development and the host survival. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1981;67(1):189-192.

  25. Otero O. Are trans-fatty acids a serious risk for disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;66(S):1018S-1019S. 


    Kamsiah J., et al. "Changes in serum lipid profile and malondialdehyde following consumption of fresh or heated red palm oil." Proceedings of Food Technology & Nutrition Conference, International Palm Oil Congress 2001, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 


    Edem DO. Palm oil: biochemical, physiological, nutritional, hematological, and toxicological aspects: a review. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2002 Fall;57(3-4):319-41.

  28. Ong AS, Goh SH. Palm oil: a healthful and cost-effective dietary component. Food Nutr Bull. 2002 Mar;23(1):11-22.

  29. Niyongabo A, Youyou A, Leger CL, Descomps B, Ammouche A, Bellal M. Effects of dietary crude palm oil, fish oil and their association on cholesterol and lipoprotein constants in rats which could be beneficial in humans. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1999 Sep;69(5):330-6. 


excellent info..thanks

I never knew that red palm oil had so many good stuff inside it. This is actually amazing to me. I have only thought that it is bad for health. Well that is what I was told. I might actually think of using it from now. Medical Billing

Leave a Comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.