Fat Of The Pharaohs: Benefits Of Red Palm Oil

Red Palm Oil was so revered by Egyptians, that it was often times included in the tombs of Pharaohs so that these kings and queens would have access to it in the after world.

In many African towns (where it’s derived), red palm oil is their number one medicinal cure. From head aches to joint pain, they have reached for this firey oil for centuries.

If it’s been such an important part of civilizations for hundreds, even thousands of years (studies show it’s been used for nearly 5000 years)…then why did it take me over 6 months to get my hands on a jar? I’m still trying to figure this one out.

And what makes red palm oil the prodigy son of oils?

Winning The Jackpot Lottery

About 6 months ago, I remember Dan mentioning a new study he had read announcing the new “best” oil.. something that was supposedly better than even coconut oil.

I remember he told me it was “red something” but I couldn’t for the life of my remember the name. And after clicking off the article, he couldn’t either.

For the past 6 months, it’s been on my mind. Plaguing me like an annoying, dull twitch.

Each time I pick up a new bottle of olive oil or jar of coconut oil at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, or World Market (these places have the best prices on specialty oils), my eyes subconsciously scan over the other oils lining the shelves.

Just hoping I’ll discover this amazing red super oil.

Finally… this past Friday at Earth Fare, while my hand was making its way to grab a coconut oil, it stopped suddenly. From the corner of my eye, I spotted something new, something distinctly different…

It was red!

red palm oil

The label proudly stated “Red Palm Oil”.

Laugh all you want, but the excitement I felt at that moment is what I imagine lottery winners to experience. That’s how you know you’re a true health foodie.

So, are you wondering: What’s Red Palm Oil?

What Is Red Palm Oil

Red palm oil, is a both a saturated and an unsaturated fat (close to 50:50) and is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. If you’re into that kind of stuff, the real name is: Elaeis guineensis.

The name “red palm oil” comes from it’s rich red-orange color in it’s unprocessed state.



Just like with all plants, the color is representative of it’s antioxidant profile: Tomatoes and watermelon are red because they contain the antioxidant lycopene. Eggplant and blueberries are loaded with resveratrol and red palm oil?

The color is due to the high levels of two powerful antioxidants:

– Lycopene

– Beta-carotenes (the same antioxidants found in carrots)

Here’s something that might even shock you, at least it did me:

Red palm oil contains MORE of both of these than the infamous carrots and tomatoes. 

But what does that all mean? Should you follow Dr. Oz’s advice and try out this oil? Side note: I wish I had found this oil prior to Dr Oz giving his two sense about it.

The Benefits Of Red Palm Oil

benefits of red palm oil

Metabolic Boost.

Like coconut oil, red palm oil is composed of medium chained fatty acids. These are metabolized differently than long chained (fish oils) and are believed to help metabolism. This is because they are broken down faster by the body and are more readily available for use as opposed to being stored as fat until needed.

Avoid Heart Attacks & Strokes.

Saturated fats have a bad wrap. These are the guys often responsible for plaque build up leading to heart disease. While the 50:50 ratio of saturated fats to unsaturated fats in red palm oil leads to some concern, studies show the opposite to be the case.

One study published in the Journal of Biomedical Science reveals that this thick oil can actually help prevent heart disease; lower cholesterol and blood pressure; and even decrease stroke risk and severity.

A second study, revealed that people taking red palm oil, had 50% less damage from a stroke than those that didn’t.

Vitamin E.

Red palm oil not only is high in Vitamin E, it contains a very special type: tocotrienols. This antioxidant is believed to help plan a protective role in cellular aging, athersclerosis (heart disease), cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin A.

Beta-carotene is extremely powerful, aside from healthy eyes, it can also be converted to Vitamin A.

Vitamin A is essential and can help:

  • Protect bones
  • Improve the immune system
  • Keep mental function strong

Nutritional Powerhouse.

There is no doubt that when it comes to oils, red palm is the most nutrient rich. Aside from Vitamin E and A, a few others include:

  • Vitamin K
  • CoQ10
  • Sqalene (Compound linked to decreasing cholesterol)
  • Phytosterols
  • Flavanoids
  • Glycolipids

The Biggest Questions:

How Does It Taste and How Much Does It Cost?

When I first removed the lid and saw what I was up against, I grew a bit nervous. Something so bright surely had to be rich in flavor, right?

Surprisingly, not.

In fact, it was flavorless.

flavor of oil

Since Friday, I’ve used my red palm oil multiple times on a wide variety of options to make sure that flavor would not be sacrificed. Because it’s a very stable fat, it holds up well to high temperatures (unlike olive oil) so cooking/baking with it is a great option.

It worked perfectly for pancakes, sautéed brussel sprouts, and roasted sweet potato fries.

The flavor wasn’t affected at all, however, if you don’t want your food to be painted reddish-orange then this might not be for you.

Same goes with utensils. Luckily the jar had a warning so I made sure not to use my bamboo spatula.

Price wise, I am happy to report that it was about $3 less than coconut oil. This was actually the deciding factor for me. If it cost more than the $9.99 I spend on coconut oil, I wouldn’t have tried it out. But at just $6.99, I figured what the heck.

After coming home and doing some research I am happy I did!

Even if Dr Oz likes it too (does he get under anyone else’s skin?)

What’s you favorite oil to cook with?

Do you like experimenting with new oils? 


  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9988781
  • http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/what-is-red-palm-oil
  • http://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/Newsletter/111309_Red-Palm-Oil_02.html
  • http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/why-you-should-give-red-palm-oil-try
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20095133

Note: I am not a medical doctor.


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