Palm oil, whose trees originate from West Africa, has long been considered an edible oil. The palm tree produces two very different oils. Palm oil comes from the palm fruit called the mesocarp. Just like olives, palm fruits are pressed to extract the valuable oil inside. Another oil produced from the palm tree is the oil produced from the kernel of the palm fruit and is called palm kernel oil (Palm Kernel Oil).
Palm oil is a vegetable oil and more specifically a fruit oil. Therefore, it does not contain cholesterol, just like other vegetable oils. In addition, palm oil has a very unique chemical profile in that it contains almost equal amounts of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The amount of unsaturated fatty acids, which can reach 90% in other tropical oils, is only 50% in palm oil. Thanks to this combination, clinical studies have shown that palm oil tends to be “neutral to people’s blood cholesterol levels.”
Natural Option – Malaysian Palm Oil
Palm oil is rich in carotenoids, which are organic pigments found in fruits and vegetables. It has been documented that people who eat foods rich in carotenoids are healthier and more resistant to chronic diseases. In particular, unrefined palm oil (red-orange in color) is a potent source of carotenoids – it contains 15 times more carotenoids than carrots and 30 times more than tomatoes. It is called Red Palm oil and it is quite easy to spot this oil on the shelves because of its color.
The unique processing method of crude palm oil ensures that high amounts of vitamin E forms are retained even when refined. In particular, it is a rich source of tocotrienols, a member of the vitamin E family, and a very powerful antioxidant. These antioxidants have a number of important properties such as lowering the cholesterol level in the blood, preventing the formation of plaque on the artery walls, and preventing the growth and spread of breast cancer cells.
What is palm oil? What are the harms of palm oil?
Thanks to the unique natural semi-solid – semi-liquid composition of palm oil, it does not require the hydrogenation process applied to obtain solid oil, which is the reason why palm oil does not contain trans fatty acids.
Besides its scientifically proven health properties, palm oil is excellent for frying and cooking. It can withstand heat and oxidation, has excellent stability, and has a neutral flavor that allows it to be used alone or mixed with other oils. Due to its relatively low cost, palm oil is the most widely used frying oil in the world today.
Because palm trees are tropical trees, they are mainly grown in tropical countries, which makes Malaysia very suitable for growing palm trees. The palm tree was introduced to Malaysia by the British in the late 1800s. This star product of Malaysia has now placed the country among the world leaders in palm oil production and export.
Turkey is one of the world’s largest palm oil buyers. Turkey imported 819,000 tons of palm oil in total in 2020. With the free trade agreement signed between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Turkey, the customs duty rate applied to palm oil imported in Malaysia was reduced from 31.2% to 21.8%. With this discount, the share of Malaysian palm oil in the Turkish market has increased to 80%. Palm oil is used in many sectors because it is a versatile oil. These sectors can be listed as pastry, biscuit – chocolate, industrial frying oil and cosmetics sector.