Food Watch: Red Palm Oil

Red palm oil main

Everyone is talking about coconut oil, and we get it, it’s really good stuff. Coconut oil has been deemed the safest oil to use when cooking over high heat because it doesn’t break down into a potentially toxic substance. It also boasts a long list of health benefits that include boosting metabolism and improving heart health. While you should continue to use coconut oil in your diet, you should know that there’s a new oil—with rivaling health benefits—in town.

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Both red palm and coconut oil come from the palm tree family, but they’re technically from different species. Many brands of red palm oil, like Aunt Patty’s and Nutiva, are sustainably sourced from Ecuador. Palm oil is about 45% saturated fat; coconut oil is about 90%.

Red palm oil looks a little different than most oils you probably stock in your kitchen. It’s got a brown-orange color and a thicker consistency. The color should tip you off to its nutrient content (hint: beta-carotene). It also has an earthy, more robust flavor profile.

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Here’s why you should consider adding it to your diet: Red palm oil actually contains the highest amounts of vitamins A and E of any plant-based oil. Both are important for a strong immune system, healthy skin, and healthy vision.

The best news is that adding palm oil into your existing diet won’t be that difficult. Use it in place of your usual oil for baking, sautéing, or medium-heat frying. Essentially, whatever you do with coconut oil, you can also do with red palm oil. You can find it in health food stores and also online.

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