Are you using palm oil for pan frying? I am! What is palm oil anyway??? If you want to find out more keep reading!
I have been using palm oil in my skillet pan recently for two reasons- its health benefits, and its high smoke point. Palm oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees F, compared to around 350 degrees F for coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil (my two other favorite oils :)). As you may know, heating oil to the point at which it smokes can be bad for your health, so you want to use an appropriate oil for the task at hand!
Palm oil (aka red palm fruit oil, NOT palm kernel oil) is harvested from the palm oil tree and can be distinguished by it vibrant red-orange hue, due high amounts of beta-carotene. It also contains another carotene called lycopene. Both are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize damaging free radicals.
Palm oil is high in vitamin E as well. “ In fact, studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that a natural form of vitamin E called alpha tocotrienol, which is the form found in high amounts in red palm fruit oil, can help reduce the effects of stroke by 50% by protecting your brain’s nerve cells.” Vitamin E also is good from brain health, by increasing blood flow, and can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Palm oil contains both medium-chain and short-chain fatty acids, which are good for our bodies (in moderation). These types of fatty acids actually help to increase metabolism, and are more readily used as energy. Studies have shown that incorporating palm oil into your diet can help to remove plaque from the arteries, helping to prevent blockages. It also has been shown to decrease inflammation and improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
In addition, palm oil “help(s) in protecting against a variety of health problems, including osteoporosis, asthma, cataracts, macular degeneration, arthritis, and liver disease. It can even slow down the premature aging processes by protecting the skin against damaging UV rays.”
(Sources: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1139-palm%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=1139&activeingredientname=palm%20oil, http://www.doctoroz.com/article/why-you-should-give-red-palm-oil-try, http://jonbarron.org/diet-and-nutrition/healthiest-cooking-oil-chart-smoke-points#.VbUsZs7N9UQ)