Yesterday I bought some Barney Butter (raw, non-GMO, almond butter) from Whole Foods. I noticed the ingredient label listed: raw almonds, chia seeds, and palm fruit oil. It got me thinking… what is palm fruit oil and is it healthy?
What is it?
Palm Fruit Oil is a vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of the oil palm. Like coconut oil, it contains a high percentage of saturated fat which makes it resistant to oxidation and great to use in cooking. Unlike coconut oil, it is not high in medium-chain fatty acids. However it is very high in carotenes, which gives palm fruit oil a deep red color, as well as vitamin E, vitamin K, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and more.
Is it healthy?
Good: Palm Fruit Oil is a non-hydrogenated oil that is resistant to oxidation and contains vitamins and minerals. This makes it a lot better than the hydrogenated oils that are typically found in most processed foods. However, palm fruit oil goes through intense sterilization and heating processes in order to be produced. This changes the nutrient, enzyme, and oil properties naturally found in the fruit.
Better: A better option would be Red Palm Fruit Oil. Red Palm Fruit Oil undergoes less processing and is therefore able to maintain more of the fruit’s vitamins and nutrients. However, it still has all of its free fatty acids removed.
Best: Virgin Coconut Oil is still the best option. Virgin Coconut Oil undergoes the least amount of processing and uses little to no heat in doing so. This means that almost of all its nutrient, enzyme, and oil properties are maintained in its production. It also is full of antioxidants, medium-chain fatty acids, and acts as a natural antibacterial agent.