•A stop sign for ageing inside and out —Dr. Oz
•There is a secret inside the flesh of the fruit extending the warranty of nearly every organ in your body —Wydle
•It contains the eight components of Vitamin E and co-enzyme Q10, a very strong antioxidant, especially for the heart muscles. —Prof. Ekpa
By Ebele Orakpo
Our bitter leaf and palm oil have been made into capsules as supplements and brought to us. Castor oil from our castor oil seed or ogilisi in Igbo, can melt growths like fibroids and the white man has extracted the oil, and brought to us to buy. Our chewing stick is being sold as organic toothbrush. Doesn’t it bother you that a continent with so many natural and human resources is still called the Dark Continent, Poverty Capital of the world, Underdeveloped, and Backward by the same people who had ensured that she remained so while carting away her human and material resources to develop their own? Who did this to us?
No wonder Nkem Owoh, aka Osuofia, popular Nollywood actor once said in one of his movies that ‘it seems God’s apprentice, and not God Himself, made the black man,’ otherwise why would we allow ourselves to be brainwashed to this extent? Once the West says jump, we don’t ask why but how high? In this report, Saturday Vanguard examines the red palm oil, its benefits and the propaganda against it.
Dr Mehmet Öz, American television presenter, author, professor emeritus of cardiothoracic surgery, described palm oil as the best oil ever.
“Palm oil is a revolutionary new way to live years longer. The red colour is perfect because I think of it as a stop sign for ageing inside and out.”
Bryce Wylde, a leading alternative medicine expert, speaking on the benefits of palm oil said: ”Palm trees contain an ancient remedy that can slow down the ageing process, fight belly fat and combat heart disease. There is a secret inside the flesh of the fruit extending the warranty of nearly every organ in your body.”
Why the palm oil is so powerful
According to Professor Okon Douglas Ekpa (retired), professor of Industrial Organic Chemistry, former Head of Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), University of Calabar: “Apart from fatty acids, palm oil contains carotenoids which are sources of vitamin A; it contains the eight components of vitamin E (four tocotrienols and four tocopherols) and Co-enzyme Q10, a very strong antioxidant, especially for the heart muscles which other oils do not contain. These are removed during processing of palm oil. That means that the value of palm oil is greatly reduced when it is processed.
It is the most prized oil in the international vegetable oil market, the only red vegetable oil on earth as a result of exceptionally high carotene content, very stable to auto-oxidation due to the presence of tocopherols and tocotrienols, and contains probably the most balanced fatty acid composition of any vegetable oil. It has almost the same composition as body cells which are made up of about 50 per cent unsaturated and 50 per cent saturated fatty
Corroborating Ekpa, Wylde said: ”It’s unlike any other nutritive food out there. It contains carotene, the super antioxidant found in tomatoes and carrots but the palm oil has more carotene than carrot and tomato combined. It also has tocotrienols; a special form of Vitamin E, very, very cardio-protective. If you combine the two together, you are going to stop the ageing process, protect the cells and other tissues of your body. The palm oil contains some saturated fats but it is the next miracle food. I never thought that palm oil will trump the coconut oil in health benefits. No other oil has the same antioxidant power and health benefits of one bottle of red palm oil.”
The respondents said two tablespoons of pure, unadulterated palm oil a day, will give you all the advantages of the tocotrienols as well as the carotene, saying it protects the brain, the heart and other organs of the body.
“It can protect against Alzheimer’s.” Illustrating the brain with half an apple, Wylde said: ‘The apple is like the brain; when oxygen from the environment and stress hit it, it will ultimately be denatured. We all know this culinary trick of applying lemon or lime juice to our fruits, salad and apples, to keep them white. Red palm oil does the exact same thing in our brains. It protects the brain with the tocotrienols, increases blood circulation and reduces incidents of dementia and Alzheimer’s so it protects our most important organ.”
Continuing, Wylde said: ”The palm oil plays an important role in keeping the heart’s arteries open.”
Explaining how palm oil which has saturated fats still protects the heart, Ekpa said: “Vitamin E is soluble in fat so it attaches itself to the fat clogging the arteries and moves around with it to ensure that it does not oxidize. Bad or good cholesterol is nothing more than cholesterol esters just moving around the body. Cholesterol is not bad until it has been oxidized because of the presence of free radicals in the body. So if you have enough antioxidants to take care of the free radicals, the issue of bad or good cholesterol does not arise. Palm oil contains very powerful antioxidants so if we take whole palm oil, we will not have these problems,” he said.
“The human body uses what it sees to replenish what is going out because the cells go through a lot of stress. Therefore, if you have say 50 per cent saturated and 50 per cent unsaturated fatty acids that make up the cell and then you start eating something that contains almost 80 per cent unsaturated fatty acids, it means that along the line, the body will not find the saturated fatty acids to use in building up the cells so it will have to use the unsaturated fatty acids to replenish whatever is missing.”
“When you take palm oil, you are taking a complete food that will not only feed you, but will also feed your cellular system and help to fight the so-called ageing process,” said Ekpa, noting that people get ill either through infection or cellular degeneration caused by free radicals which make cells feeble and unable to stand stress.
“It takes about 10 to 15 or even 20 years for the effects to manifest. That is why when cancer, diabetes, hypertension or old age manifests, there is not much one can do. Luckily, some who are reading this now have these facts and therefore do not have to grow old because if you can do something to protect yourself from free radicals which cause cellular degeneration, you won’t grow old fast,” he said.
Prof. Ekpa noted that palm oil is not only edible, it is also of interest industrially like in paint, soap, detergent, cosmetics and bio-fuel production. ”When you look at olive oil (from Mediterranean) or soybean oil (US), palm oil yields more oil per hectare than any other oil so the cost of production is much lower.
Therefore, in this era of biofuel, palm oil is the best in terms of cost effectiveness.
The fruit has the outer layer that gives us the palm oil and the nut that gives us palm kernel oil. When you add the two oils from one fruit, no other source of vegetable oil in the world can match it. So in terms of cost of production and the amount of oil produced per hectare of palm plantation, there is no other source of oil that matches it,” said Ekpa.
With all these benefits, how did the innocent palm oil become so demonized with a death sentence hanging over its head that some Nigerians use soybean or sunflower oil (so-called heart-friendly oils) as substitute in local soups?
In answer to that question, Prof. Ekpa said: “As we were going into the research, we realised the very serious fabrications by the industrialised world against palm oil. Unfortunately, it is a product mostly cultivated by Third World countries. The entry of the US with soybean oil in the early 1960s brought about the issue of polyunsaturated fatty acids and human diet.
They started by implicating palmitic acid as the acid that raises blood cholesterol. The white man simply took palmitic acid portion of the oil and tested it on rats and said ‘oh, palmitic acid raises cholesterol level’ but palm oil is not just palmitic acid!
“There is what is called synergistic effect. If you take all the components of palm oil and put them together, the effect of palmitic acid will be cancelled. When it was countered that palm oil and olive oil have similar effects on blood cholesterol, they came up with the issue of bad and good cholesterol (LDL and HDL) but palm oil by itself, does not contain cholesterol,” he said.
Prof. MacDonald Idu, professor of Phytomedicine at the University of Benin agreed with this assertion saying that plants should be eaten whole in order to get the full benefits.
Continued Ekpa: “In the late 1990s, researchers from Japan, Malaysia and other level-minded elements from US and Britain came out with results to show that up to 50 per cent of the so-called bad fat came from unseen diet sources dear to the industrialised world like pastries, meat, sausages, eggs, milk, butter, shortenings etc.”
He pointed out that hydrogenation of oil produces trans-fat which has been implicated in some forms of breast cancer. Egg yolk and most of the meat we eat contain so much cholesterol but nobody is saying anything about them.
“They then began to bring in environmental issues, ‘oh, you are clearing so much forest that could absorb carbon dioxide to plant palm trees. When they were planting soybeans and olive trees, they had to clear the forest, so what is wrong with palm trees?” he asked adding: “This is a perspective from a Nigerian who was raised in the US and knows the politics of the world. This is what it is.”
According to Ekpa: ”Palm oil does not contain any cholesterol, it does not raise its level either. The truth is, out of the five commercially available vegetable or edible oils, it costs the least to produce. Once the tree is planted, it continues to produce for the next 50 to 70 years without replanting.
Besides, the fruits produce two different sets of oils – palm oil and palm kernel oil. So those other oils are not competitive in terms of cost and availability. Thus, they had to bring out phony research results that palm oil is a saturated fat and that saturated fat causes heart attack which was rampant at the time. This was the propaganda machine used to create fear in people that palm oil was a bad fat.
“Meanwhile, they sponsored another set of phony research to say that polyunsaturated oils which they produce, were the healthiest and changed the daily requirement standards almost overnight to suit their oils such as sunflower, canola and soybeans. These oils are high in linoleic and linoleic (omega 6 and 9) fatty acids.
Linoleic contains two double bonds in its long chain while linoleic acid contains three, making them polyunsaturated.
But the truth is that oils high in linoleic acid, LA, are problematic in that much of the health problems that result in chronic health conditions are caused by LA, and not by saturated fats as they made people to believe.
The only oils from vegetable source that we can safely consume today are extra virgin (pressed) palm and palm kernel, coconut and olive oils. These oils are stable to autoxidation and processing conditions,”said Prof. Ekpa adding that palm oil stands out because of its high antioxidant and pro-vitamin E content levels along with stable fatty acid structure.
“It is painful that we have an agency called National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC that is supposed to come forward and tell ignorant Nigerians the truth about these things, but they only sit back and depend on what the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, an American agency, says.
How do you sit down here in Nigeria and expect your competitor to sell what you have for you? FDA funds research and use their results, along with other published works to set standards for THEIR PRODUCTS, and not ours.
The NAFDAC DG recently caused Indomie scare and retracted. Then they repeated the same thing with Aspartame by saying they depended on FDA standards for the sweetener. Why can’t we set our own standards for our products? he queried.
Africa is indeed blessed. We need to look inwards; our deliverance will not come from abroad but from within.
Why is it that when the West wants African governments to do certain things that are against their culture and values and they say no, the next thing is threat of withdrawing aid from such governments? The funny thing is that the so-called aid comes from the wealth of Africa. Africans must wake up now!