Thursday, July 18, 2024

Palm oil consumption eliminates dandruff, prevents cancer, relieves pain: Nutritionists

Some nutritionists and lifestyle experts have urged Nigerians to use palm oil instead of other vegetable oil due to its nutritional value.

• June 9, 2024
Palm oil (Credit: House food)
Palm oil (Credit: House food)

Some nutritionists and lifestyle experts have urged Nigerians to use palm oil instead of other vegetable oil due to its nutritional value.

Olufunmilola Adewumi, chief nutritionist and head of the department at Shomolu General Hospital, told journalists in Lagos that palm oil contains linoleic acid (Omega 6), carotenoids (antioxidants), phytosterols, vitamin K, lauric and capric acids, and medium-chain triglycerides (anti-microbial and anti-fungal agents).

The dietitian noted that palm oil has many health benefits over vegetable oil, which contains 15 per cent unsaturated fats, 50 per cent of mono-saturated fats, and 35 per cent polyunsaturated fats.

Ms Adewumi said palm oil enhances the absorption of essential vitamin A, adding, “Due to its rich source of vitamin E, lycopene, and beta-carotene, palm oil serves as antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress, prevent cancer, safeguard the brain tissues, and reduce age-related muscular degeneration.

“It also contains vitamin K, which is crucial for blood clotting and bone health and when ingested moderately daily, it provides cardio-protective, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects.

“When palm oil is used topically, it restores hydration to dry skin, soothes headaches, relieves pain associated with rheumatism and aids in healing of wounds and skin infections.

“It eliminates dandruff, thereby supporting hair growth, has anti-caking property that prevents lumps from forming in powdered products, and it soothes bruises and sunburns,” she said.

Ms Adewumi, however, said that regardless of the oil one chooses to use, it is important to be mindful of the amount used in cooking for a healthy lifestyle.

“By using little oil in our cooking, we can reduce our overall calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle,” the nutritionist said.

In her contribution, another Lagos-based registered dietician and nutritionist, Adaeze Oparaku, said using palm oil on all dishes was healthy if it was not bleached.

Ms Oparaku added that palm oil had the highest source of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, compared with other foods.

“As a matter of diversity, one can incorporate both palm oil and vegetable oil, but remember moderation is key,” she said.

Also, a nutrition adviser, Momo Akwara, said palm oil should be preferred for consumption in Nigeria because vegetable oils are toxic when heated.

Ms Akwara said that Nigerians usually cook for a long time, and as a result, “the process of making vegetable oils becomes very toxic.”

She said the total inclusion of palm oil into daily diets prevented some major diseases.

“Palm oil is much healthier, but if you take the same palm oil and bleach because you want to make ofada sauce, you are also killing the oil nutrients.

While agitating for the removal of vegetable oil from Nigerian kitchens, the specialist encouraged those who could not do without it to extract oil from some fatty meats.


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