Crude Palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil are edible plant oils derived from the fruits of palm trees. Crude Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis; palm kernel oil is derived from the kernel (seed) of the oil palm and coconut oil is derived from the kernel of the coconut (Cocos nucifera). Crude Palm oil is naturally reddish in color because it contains a high amount of beta-carotene. Crude Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil. Its increasing use in the commercial food industry in other parts of the world is buoyed by its lower cost and the high oxidative stability (saturation) of the refined product when used for frying.
Product Characteristics: Crude Palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil are three of the few highly saturated vegetable fats. Crude Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperatures. Crude Palm oil contains several saturated and unsaturated fats in the forms of glyceryl laurate (0.1%, saturated), myristate (1%, saturated), palmitate (44%, saturated), stearate (5%, saturated), oleate (39%, monounsaturated), linoleate (10%, polyunsaturated), and linolenate (0.3%, polyunsaturated). Palm kernel oil and coconut oil are more highly saturated than Crude Palm oil. Like all vegetable oils, Crude Palm oil does not contain cholesterol (found in unrefined animal fats), although saturated fat intake increases both LDL and HDL cholesterol.
Nutritional value: Many processed foods contain palm oil as an ingredient. Crude Palm oil is composed of fatty acids, esterified with glycerol just like any ordinary fat. It is high in saturated fatty acids. Crude Palm oil gives its name to the 16-carbon saturated fatty acid palmitic acid. Monounsaturated oleic acid is also a constituent of palm oil. Unrefined palm oil is a large natural source of tocotrienol, part of the vitamin E family.
Uses: Derivatives of palmitic acid were used in combination with naphtha during World War II to produce napalm (aluminum naphthenate and aluminum palmitate). Many processed foods contain palm oil as an ingredient.