What is Palm Fruit Oil? Uses, Side Effects, and More

What is Palm Fruit Oil? Uses, Side Effects, and More

Red palm fruit oil
Red palm fruit oil

When palm fruit oil is mentioned what comes to mind is that reddish liquid used for cooking but that is unrefined palm oil in its natural state.

Grown only in the tropics, the oil palm fruit tree creates high-quality oil used mainly for cooking in developing countries. It is also used in food products, detergents, cosmetics, and, to a small extent, biofuel.

Related Articles on Red Palm Fruit Oil

Palm fruit oil is a very productive crop. It offers a far greater yield at a lower cost of production than other vegetable oils.

Currently, 25 liters of palm oil cost an average of 23,000 Naira in Nigeria.

International production of oil palm and demand for palm oil is increasing rapidly. Plantations are spreading across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

But such growth comes at the expense of tropical forests—which form vital habitats for many endangered species and sustenance for some human communities

On the other hand, refined palm oil is heavily processed and loses its red color, flavor, and health advantages. Bleaching, deodorizing and neutralizing unrefined crude palm oil results in refined palm oil.

Table of Contents

What Is Palm Fruit Oil?

Palm oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil globally. Palm fruit oil is pressed from the fruits of the oil palm tree (Elaeis Guineensis). The oil palm trees grow in regions around the equator.

The oil palm is a tropical tree with leaves about 5m long. When the oil palm trees are 3-4 years old, they develop palm fruit in bunches. The fruit bunches are then harvested throughout the year.

Each bunch contains about hundreds of palm fruits. Palm fruits are the size of large olives. The fruit contains a single seed or kernel, which is employed to produce palm kernel oil. Each palm fruit has about 30-35% oil.

One palm tree creates 40 kilograms of oil every year. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Palm oil is important for global food security and economic development.

Palm fruit oil vs. palm oil

They both come from palm trees, but there the resemblance ends.

Palm oil originates from the palm fruit, while palm kernel oil is extracted from the palm seed.

And while over 80% of the fat in palm kernel oil is saturated, only 50% of palm oil is, making it easier on arteries.

Where does palm oil come from? Origin of palm oil

Oil palm crops grow in humid tropical conditions, found 8 – 10 degrees north and south of the equator.

At first, found in West Africa, the oil palm tree is now cultivated across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Indonesia and Malaysia are by far the largest palm oil-producing nations.

Together they account for 85-90% of the total production of this vegetable oil. Other key producing countries are Colombia, Nigeria, and Thailand.

Palm oil cultivation ~ Facts about the palm oil industry

Red palm oil fruit is a productive crop. It provides a far greater yield at a lower cost of production than other vegetable oils.

The global production of and demand for oil palm is increasing quickly.

Palm plantations are spreading across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Oil Palm Plantation: Cultivation and Management

The cultivation of oil palm is typically done in a monoculture, excluding in Africa where it is part of an agroforestry system.

Palm trees are planted about 10m apart so that their crowns do not overlap. Three years after planting, the trees start to bear fruits and will reach peak production after about 10 years

Palm Fruit Oil Extraction Process ~ Methods & Steps: How to make palm oil in Nigeria

The next stage in this expedition is producing the fruit oil. For this function, the fruit bunches are treated with steam

This is a vital stage as it eliminates any bacteria and puts a stop to enzyme activity. In this way, the degradation of the fruit is brought to an end.

Meanwhile, the steamer softens the oil palm fruits, which in turn aids to release the natural oil. After this steam treatment process, the fruit masses, which contain water, oil, fibers, and palm kernel are treated to separate all parts.

This normal fruit is then put under high pressure to crush out the oil and water. Accordingly, a water-oil mixture is produced. Since water and oil do not combine after some time, the palm oil will form an oil layer and float on the top.

This way, the palm fruit oil can be then extracted from the water. The end results are the first drops of natural crude palm oil. This will need additional processes at the refinery.

What does palm fruit oil look like? Palm fruit oil processing

In its usual, unprocessed state, palm oil is dark red in color due to a high content of carotenoids, including β-carotene (a vitamin A precursor that gives carrots their color) and lycopene.

Nutritional Value of palm fruit oil 

The nutrients contained in one tablespoon (14 grams) of palm oil are listed below.

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Saturated fat: 7 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin e: 14% of the daily value (DV)

Every calorie in palm oil is made up of fat. Its breakdown of fatty acids is around 50% saturated fatty acids, 40% monounsaturated fatty acids, and 10% polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Why is palm oil in practically everything? Uses and Benefits of palm fruit oil

Why is oil palm fruit in practically everything? Palm fruit oil health benefits

  • Palm fruit oil is widely used by food and non-food manufacturers because of its functional benefits, versatility, and widespread availability.
  • Palm oil fruit has diverse functional properties. It provides a semi-solid consistency and long-term stability. It also performs well at high cooking temperatures.
  • Its smooth and creamy texture and absence of smell make it a perfect and affordable ingredient in many recipes, supporting flavor and texture.
  • Palm fruit oil is utilized in the production of soaps, cosmetics, candles, biofuels, lubricating greases, tinplate processing, and coating of iron plates.
  • The seeds of the palm tree are used to produce palm kernel oil, which is used to make numerous medications as well as food goods including margarine, ice cream, chocolate confections, cookies, and bread.
  • Numerous traditional soups, including melon soup, efo-riro, bitter leaf soup, okra soup, etc., are prepared with palm oil.
  • Additionally, it can be used to make yam pottage, porridge beans, and palm oil rice.
  • In the majority of recipes, including spaghetti, frying eggs, fish, and meat, palm oil can be used in place of groundnut oil.
  • After kernel oil has been removed, the cake leftover is fed to cattle. In many subtropical regions, the plant is also planted as an ornamental plant.
  • It prolongs the shelf life of food goods by the action of a natural preservative. It is the most productive vegetable oil crop, making it incredibly effective.
  • Due to its exceptional cooking qualities—which it maintains even at high temperatures—palm oil is a distinctive component in a variety of goods.
  • One of palm fruit oil’s benefits to companies is undeniably its extreme versatility. Palm oil can be transformed into a large number of fractions and derivatives. Palm oil and its derivatives are ubiquitous and are found in more than half of the products in the supermarket
Economic Importance of palm fruit oil 
  • It uses less than half the amount of land needed to grow the same amount of oil as other crops.
  • Since the oil palm tree can continue to bear fruit for up to 30 years, the crop is considered high-producing and sustainable.
Palm oil vs. Palm fruit oil

They both come from palm trees, but there the resemblance ends.

Palm oil originates from the palm fruit, while palm kernel oil is extracted from the palm seed.

And while over 80% of the fat in palm kernel oil is saturated, only 50% of palm oil is, making it easier on arteries.

Palm oil vs. Other Oils

Compared to butter and olive oil, palm oil has higher saturated fat, but less than other tropical oils like coconut oil.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are recognized to be good for health, are present in palm oil.

However, coconut oil has a higher concentration of minerals, and palm oil has more vitamin E and vitamin K.

Side effects of palm oil ~ Is palm fruit oil harmful to health?

When taken by mouth: Palm oil is commonly consumed in foods.

In reality, reheated palm oil may not just lose the heart advantages of fresh palm oil, it may truly increase your risk of heart disease for example atherosclerosis.

If you are at risk for heart disease, stay away from eating reheated palm oil or foods containing reheated palm oil.

Deforestation, which causes an ecosystem to change and disturbs wildlife habitat, is the most noteworthy environmental disadvantage of palm oil extraction.

Other environmental problems include biodiversity loss, pollution, contribution to global warming, unrestrained growth, and production.


Is palm fruit oil harmful to health?

Palm oil is frequently found in meals and is commonly eaten orally. But there is a type of fat in palm oil that might raise cholesterol levels.

Thus, excessive consumption of palm oil must be avoided. Short-term usage of palm oil as medication may be safe.

Why is palm fruit oil so harmful?

Because it contains a lot of saturated fat, palm oil may be bad for your heart.

But according to one study, palm oil “does not have an incremental risk for cardiovascular disease” when ingested as part of a balanced diet.

What are the disadvantages of oil palm fruit?

The following are some of the most significant environmental issues with fruit palm oil:

  • Deforestation. According to estimates, palm oil accounts for up to 50% of all deforestation in various regions of Asia
  • Pollution
  • Unrestricted development and output.
  • Decrease in biodiversity
  • Supports global warming
Is palm fruit oil healthy oil?

Although, compared to other tropical oils like coconut oil, palm oil has less saturated fat. It has about the same amount of saturated fat as butter.

The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in palm oil are believed to be healthy.

Is palm oil cancerous?

We can assume that you consume or use items containing palm oil every day. But this product has been connected to a higher risk of cancer.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) claims that processing palm oil at high temperatures can result in cancer.

While palm oil fruit has higher vitamin E and K, coconut oil is considerably richer in minerals.

Due to its lower concentration of saturated fat, research suggests that palm oil is a better option for cardiovascular health than coconut oil.

Is Palm Fruit Oil Harmful to Dogs? Palm Fruit Oil Dog

Even though palm oil is not toxic to dogs, it does have a laxative effect and, if consumed, can cause sickness, dehydration, diarrhea, and, in life-threatening cases, pancreatitis.

It can also cause obstructions in the gut because of its semi-solid state. Some dogs have become extremely ill after ingesting palm oil

Is sunflower oil better than palm oil?

Saturated fats and vitamin K levels are higher in palm oil. Sunflower oil, in comparison, contains more vitamin E and unsaturated lipids.

Although more expensive, sunflower oil is healthier for overall health

Is palm fruit oil better than vegetable oil?

As opposed to vegetable oil, palm oil contains a disproportionately larger amount of saturated fats. Vitamin K content in vegetable oil is three times higher.

Vegetable oil might be a better option because it contains more polyunsaturated fatty acids than other types of oil.

Is palm fruit oil worse than butter?

The USDA states that the nutrient profile of palm oil is comparable to that of other cooking oils.

A tablespoon has roughly 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, including 7 grams of saturated fat (equivalent to the amount in butter), 5 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat.

Is Nutella palm oil?

Nutella is made with sustainable palm oil that can be traced back to the mills.

Most of our volumes come from Malaysia, which accounts for about 80% of its origin.

Is palm oil the same as coconut oil?

The pulp of the fruit is used to obtain palm oil. Not to be confused with coconut oil; this is made from the protein or kernel of the coconut palm (Cocos Nucifera).

What is so special about palm oil?

It is the vegetable oil crop with the biggest yield, which makes it very effective and well-liked.

To produce the same quantity of oil, it uses less than half the area needed by other crops (such as sunflower, soybean, or rapeseed).

As a result, palm oil is the cheapest vegetable oil available globally.

How does palm oil affect humans?

Consequently, intensive palm oil production has a negative impact on the environment in many ways, including soil erosion and air, water, and soil pollution.

Regionally, the development of palm oil has also been linked to the eviction of indigenous people from their lands and means of subsistence.

What are the pros and cons of palm oil?

Palm Oil Pros Palm Oil Cons
large yields Debatable sustainability
huge earnings for farmers accelerates the loss of forests
alterations to living conditions habitat destruction
an improved infrastructure Loss of biodiversity
What is the alternative to palm oil?

Sunflower and canola seed oils

If the cultivation of rapeseed oil (also known as canola oil) and sunflower seed oil did not also negatively impact the ecology in comparable ways, they would both be great sustainable alternatives to palm oil.

Do we need palm oil?

The world’s most popular vegetable oil, its use is expanding due to its affordability and effectiveness.

The manufacturing of items like cake, chocolate, cookies, margarine, and frying fats all need palm oil.

Furthermore, it can be utilized as a biofuel and is present in cosmetics, shampoo, detergent, and cleaning products.

Can we use palm oil for cooking?

A lot of ready-to-eat items sold in grocery shops and cooking utilize palm oil.

It is also utilized as a biofuel and in animal feed in some regions of the world.

Can you fry it with palm oil?

Palm oil is a fantastic option for deep frying because it primarily contains saturated and monounsaturated fats.

If you use the red palm oil variant that is unrefined, the flavor may be invisible.

Does palm oil clog arteries?

The World Health Organization, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service all advise against consuming palm oil and other tropical oils due to their high level of artery-clogging saturated fats.

Is peanut butter with palm oil good for you?

Optimal Fat Profile

Although palm oil contains saturated fats, it is still a better option for peanut butter than partially hydrogenated oils.

Trans fat, which causes your cholesterol levels to rise more than saturated fat, is found in partially hydrogenated oils.

Does palm oil expire?

Generally speaking, organic palm oil has a long shelf life; when properly stored, it can remain fresh for at least a year.

However, we advise that you use your oil within six months to ensure that it is of the maximum quality. Palm oil will turn “rancid” if left out too long.

Is palm good for the liver?

Together, these results indicate that palm oil, a highly saturated kind of vegetable oil, may first alter serum cholesterol levels via impairing hepatic lipid metabolism.

Does palm oil affect the liver?

Histologically, a diet high in palm oil produces microsteatosis and liver inflammation but not necrosis.

The heating had no effect on the histological alterations in the liver. A high-fat diet results in liver microsteatosis, ALT and ALP changes, and inflammation.

Does KFC use palm oil?

Although KFC claimed it had started discussions with suppliers in an effort to persuade them to switch to alternatives or exclusively obtain sustainably-certified palm oil, the fast food chain will still use palm oil in its fries, buns, tortillas, and hash browns.

Can palm oil upset your stomach?

Palm oil is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, Dr. Taylor said, but some people told us about having reactions such as stomach pain, hives, rash, or indigestion when they eat foods that contain it.

Does peanut butter have palm oil?

Because they allow it to stay combined rather than needing to be stirred in once it reaches the consumer, peanut butter often contains palm oil or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

As a result, a product marked “No Stir” probably contains palm oil.

Why is palm oil in chocolate?

Large amounts of mainstream chocolate contain palm oil, which is used to make the chocolate itself as well as to prevent fruit ingredients from sticking to one another during manufacturing.

Is palm oil inflammatory?

A reliable study also shows that the vitamin E in palm oil may have anti-inflammatory effects.

What is palm oil made from?

Oil palm tree

The fruits of the African (and occasionally American) oil palm tree are used to make palm oil, vegetable oil that is suitable for human consumption.

Numerous tiny orange-red fruits that are produced by these trees and then crushed, pressed, and pulped are used to make palm oil.

What are 4 things is palm oil used for?

To make soaps, cosmetics, candles, biofuels, lubricating greases, process tinplate, and coat iron plates, palm oil is extracted from the fruits.

Why is palm oil so cheap?

As palm oil became more widely available, it’s status as a luxury good diminished.

The palm fruit was allowed to ferment and soften by exporters to save labor costs, but the end product was rotten.

Which country produces the most palm oil?

72 million tonnes of oil palm were produced globally in 2018.

Malaysia produced 27% of this, and Indonesia produced 57% of it (41 million tonnes) (20 million tonnes).

Currently, Indonesia and Malaysia produce 84 percent of the world’s palm oil.

How many trees are cut down for palm oil?

The rate of deforestation was projected to be 10 million acres per year between 2015 and 2020.

Most of the world’s palm oil plantations are located inside these converted hectares, according to several studies.

How many orangutans are killed because of palm oil?

In addition to being detrimental to the environment and a significant contributor to climate change, palm oil is also the main reason for the extermination of orangutans.

Between 1,000 and 5,000 orangutans are thought to perish annually in concessions for palm oil.

Who consumes the most palm oil?


India (9.4 million tonnes) and Indonesia (6 million tonnes) are the two countries that consume the most palm oil, both of which have a long history of using it in cooking.

The third-largest consumer of palm oil is the EU.

What foods are made with palm oil?

Certainly, Sodium Laureth Sulfate will be included on the label.

Ice cream the majority of commercial ice cream contains palm oil, which gives it a creamy and smooth texture.

  • Margarine,
  • Peanut butter,
  • Repackaged pastries,
  • Chips (made with vegetable oil),
  • Vegan cheese,
  • Baby formulas are just a few examples.
Should I avoid palm oil?

Due to its high level of saturated fats, palm oil may be detrimental to cardiovascular health.

However, one research revealed that palm oil “did not have an incremental risk for cardiovascular disease” when ingested as part of a balanced diet.

Do Kit Kats contain palm oil?

Chocolate-covered biscuits, detergents, shampoo, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies all contain palm oil.

The oil can be found in Nutella, Mr. Kipling Angel Slices, Kit Kats, Cadbury’s chocolate buttons, and Oreo cookies.

What is the problem with palm oil?

Numerous plant and animal species are severely harmed when tropical forests are converted on a large scale to oil palm farms.

Because populations of large animals are crammed into smaller and smaller pieces of natural habitat, oil palm extraction significantly increases human-wildlife conflict.

Is palm oil better than olive oil?

Both palm oil and olive oil include vitamin E when considering additional nutrients outside just good fats.

Other nutritional elements like additional vitamins, polyphenols, antioxidants, and more are also present in olive oil.

So overall, olive oil has greater nutritional benefits than palm oil

What are the disadvantages of palm oil?

The habitat of already threatened species like the orangutan, pygmy elephant, and Sumatran rhino is being destroyed as a result of palm oil deforestation in some of the world’s most biodiverse forests.

Is palm oil cancerous?

We can assume that you consume or use items containing palm oil every day.

But this product has been connected to a higher risk of cancer. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) claims that processing palm oil at high temperatures can result in cancer.

Which is better palm oil or coconut oil?

While palm oil has higher vitamin E and K, coconut oil is considerably richer in minerals.

Due to its lower concentration of saturated fat, research suggests that palm oil is a better option for cardiovascular health than coconut oil.

Is sunflower oil better than palm oil?

Vitamin K and saturated fat content in palm oil are higher.

Sunflower oil, in comparison, contains more vitamin E and unsaturated lipids.

Although Sunflower oil is more expensive, sunflower oil is healthier for overall health.

Is palm oil good for your heart?

Scientific research has demonstrated that palm oil can shield blood vessels and the heart from ischemia damage and plaque buildup.

A healthy, balanced diet that includes palm oil as a dietary fat has no additional risk for cardiovascular disease.

What is the smell of palm oil?

Palm oil is frequently described as having a mild, pleasant, and somewhat fresh odor.

The aroma of palm kernel oil is somewhat herbal, eucalyptus-like, spicy, fruity-sweet, and faintly green.

Additionally, it has a slight citrus scent. Refined palm oil has a mildly sweet and palatable flavor.

How can you tell if palm oil is good?

Good palm oil should have a reddish yellow bottom. additionally, when bottled, a reddish-black top

Can I freeze palm oil?

If you still intend to use palm fruit oil for baking or cooking, you can reduce its freezing point by blending it with cottonseed or sunflower oils.

Because of this, palm oil has a 95-degree melting (freezing) point.

Does palm oil make you gain weight?

Natural palmitic acid, a fatty acid that may raise your risk of weight gain and obesity, is present in palm oil.

Is palm oil toxic?

compared to fresh palm oil, oxidized palm fruit oil results in an unhealthy lipid profile is toxic to the reproductive system, and is also harmful to the kidney, lung, liver, and heart.

This might be a result of the toxicants that oxidation produces.

Is palm fruit oil good for weight loss?

The palm fruit is where palm oil is found. In addition to treating malaria, high blood pressure, excessive cholesterol, and cyanide poisoning, palm oil is used to prevent cancer, brain disease, aging, and vitamin A insufficiency.

Palm oil is utilized to boost the body’s metabolism and help people lose weight.

Does palm fruit oil contain omega-3?

Linoleic acid and linolenic acid, the parent fatty acids of the omega-6 and omega-3 families, respectively, are the most significant necessary fatty acids.

Palm oil contains both of these important fatty acids.

Is palm oil healthy or unhealthy?

Healthy fats, certain vitamins, and antioxidants are abundant in palm oil.

Although it can be a healthful component of the diet, some individuals limit their use or only consume palm fruit oil that is produced responsibly because of the industry’s violations of the environment and human rights.

What trees are used for palm oil?

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the palm tree, which is a species of tree known as the African oil palm.

It originated in the west and south-west Africa and was brought to Indonesia and Malaysia by Dutch colonists in the late 19th century.

Why is palm oil used in everything?

Palm fruit oil is found in practically everything, including shampoo, lipstick, bread, chocolate, detergent, and more.

More than 50% of packaged grocery goods include palm oil. This is attributable to the fact that it is an extremely productive crop and a cheap resource.

Why do we use palm fruit oil?

It is the most extensively used vegetable oil in the world due to its affordability and efficiency, and usage worldwide is growing.

Foods like cake, chocolate, cookies, margarine, and frying fats are all made with palm oil.

Additionally, it can be utilized as a biofuel and is present in shampoo, soap, cosmetics, and cleaning products.

Where do palm oil trees grow?

In low-lying, moist tropical regions—exactly where rainforests naturally grow—palm oil grows best

Why did Indonesia ban palm oil exports?

Indonesia’s need for cooking oil increased as a result of the celebrations’ preparations. People were throwing lavish feasts for the first time after the COVID-19 rules went into effect two years ago.

In light of this, the Indonesian government ultimately decided to outlaw the export of palm oil, both unrefined and refined.

Is palm fruit oil vegan?

Palm oil is ideal for vegans because it is a vegetable product that does not require the (ab)use of animals.

How long does it take for a palm oil tree to grow?

For oil palms to develop fruits that are ready for harvesting, it takes around four years.

After that, each tree will continue to produce fruit for up to 30 years, by which time it will have reached a height of about 40 feet.

Which country is the largest producer of palm oil?


The two countries that produce the most palm oil are by far Indonesia and Malaysia.

Together, they produce between 85% and 90% of the entire amount of this vegetable oil.

Thailand, Colombia, and Nigeria are further significant producers.

Which country is the largest exporter of palm oil?


Top palm oil exporters in 2020 included:

  • Indonesia ($17.9 billion)
  • Malaysia ($10.6 billion),
  • The Netherlands ($1.03 billion), Guatemala ($466 million), and Papua New Guinea ($434 million). Imports In 2020, India ($5.04B), China ($3.66B), Pakistan ($2.15B), the Netherlands ($1.72B), and Spain ($1.25B) were the main importers of palm oil.
Does Pepsi use palm fruit oil?

PepsiCo is the second-largest food and beverage corporation in the world (after Nestlé) as of February 2020.

In Asia and other areas, PepsiCo largely manufactures snacks using palm oil.

Why is palm fruit oil used in lipstick?

Lipstick is made with palm fruit oil because it has a smooth application, virtually little taste; keeps color well, and doesn’t melt at high temperatures, and palm oil has these qualities.

Should cooking oil be refrigerated after opening?

It’s not like this will kill us, but it is one of the undiscovered causes of illness. They advise us to put any opened cooking oils in the fridge.

Why is palm oil red? Palm oil processing

The fruit of oil palm fruit trees, particularly the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, is used to make palm oil.

Because it contains a lot of carotenoids, such as lycopene and -carotene (a precursor to vitamin A that gives carrots their color), palm oil is dark red in its natural, unprocessed state.

The Bottom Line about Palm fruit oil

Palm fruit oil is like the air we breathe; it’s in our food, snacks, and other everyday products we use.

No one can go a day without coming in contact with palm oil or its product. For most of us, we must have considered having a sustainable source of income; we should try venturing into the oil palm business (for reasons stated above).

According to some, the most truly sustainable way to purchase original red palm fruit oil is to buy it directly from small, local farms.

And that reminds us of the pressure the growers are currently facing:

As pressure to avoid deforestation rises, palm oil growers can no longer increase revenue through expansion.

That makes them vulnerable to any rise in the prices of essential inputs.

Growers are looking for innovative ways to optimize costs. Biotechnology is a promising option, offering the potential to reduce chemical fertilizer use and shorten costly nursery periods.


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