Palm Oil
Latin Name: elaeis guinnesis
Forms Available: oil

Palm Oil - elaeis guinnesis - Palm oil is produced from the pulp or flesh of the fruit of the oil palm. Palm oil contains an equal proportion of unsaturated acids, containing about 40% oleic acids i.e. monounsaturated, 44% palmitic acids and oleic acids, which are also the major fatty acids produced by the body. It is a natural source of Vitamin E, the tocopherols, and tocotrienols and is also a very rich source of beta-carotene, an important source of Vitamin A. Palm oil is physically and chemically different from either palm kernel or coconut oil and should not be considered similar to these oils. Palm oil also contains a much higher proportion of palmitic acids than other fats and oils. Palm oil is frequently confused with palm kernel oil, which is highly saturated. In contrast, palm oil contains a balance of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. In addition, palm oil contains essential substances such as linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid which the body cannot manufacture), tocopherols and tocotrienols, which act as natural anti-oxidants against damaging free-radicals. Like other vegetable fats, palm oil is free from cholesterol. Because palm oil is solid at room temperature there is no need to use hydrogenation, a technique which hardens liquid oil but also produces damaging trans fatty acids and raises cholesterol levels in the process. Human feeding studies have shown that palm oil does not ordinarily raise blood cholesterol levels and in some cases has been found to lower harmful LDL-cholesterol. Palm oil makes a nice hard bar when used in combination with other oils such as coconut and olive oil. It is less water soluble and resists melting; it saponifies easily and pulls other oils into saponification quicker. It is also known as vegetable tallow and adds firmness to bar soaps, giving a pale white-yellow color. Palm oil will speed up the soapmaking process. Because the palm oil mixture is more reactive, you must add the essential oils and the nutrients swiftly or the soap will begin to set prematurely.


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