According to the World Health Organization (OMS), it establishes that a healthy diet is very beneficial for the body since it acts against forms of malnutrition and constitutes the basis of health and development. In addition, it prevents non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and other conditions associated with obesity. And it is that today, more and more people are aware of the importance of a correct diet and the enjoyment of a better quality of life, for which specialists can create food plans according to the needs and requirements of each person. .
In the midst of this scenario, technology and science have been developing with the aim of providing consumers with healthy options and allowing the food industry to make products with higher added value and better nutritional properties available to them.
In this way, functional foods were given way, that is, a type of food that seeks to be an efficient option within the eating habits of today’s world, and that aims to become products fortified with vitamins and minerals intended for all segments of the population or specific groups of people with special nutritional requirements.
Elaboration of functional foods with palm oil
Palm oil is obtained from the fruit of the elaeis guineensis oil palm native to Africa, which, thanks to its nutritional properties and physicochemical characteristics, is a suitable ingredient for the manufacture of functional foods that help improve some clinical condition or prevent the development of diseases.
In addition, palm oil has unique nutritional characteristics as it is the only vegetable oil source of tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E with high antioxidant power that, when consumed constantly, helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, which , in terms of production, makes it a suitable ingredient for the preparation of functional foods, say some nutrition specialists, adding that “On the other hand, its physicochemical characteristics allow greater palatability, that is, the product is pleasant to the palate. . In addition, it has a high resistance to oxidation and gives food texture.”
“Palm oil is also a source of carotenoids, which act as provitamin A in the body for proper visual development and proper function of the immune system. To this, it is added that it is free of trans fats, preventing the development of cardiovascular diseases”, explain health specialists.
Palm oil is considered one of the richest natural sources of micronutrients such as carotenoids. Also, in its natural state, red palm oil, due to its high carotene content, has other valuable components such as squalene and coenzyme Q10, which generate great health benefits.
Palm oil favors hormonal synthesis, works as an energy store and thermal insulator against heat loss, gives support and structure to internal organs, increases good cholesterol in the blood, helps the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K, and has been certified as safe food by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the United States).
Palm oil based food
In general, fats are necessary in a healthy eating context and palm oil can be included in a balanced diet, but there are some myths about this product that should be pointed out.
It contains 50% saturated fat and 50% unsaturated fat, therefore palm oil is a balanced oil in its composition of fatty acids. However, today there is a tendency to believe that saturated fats are negative for health, but what many people do not know is that, according to the World Health Organization, of the total calories that we consume daily, the 10% must be at the expense of saturated fats, that is, they must be part of a healthy diet. Additionally, scientific evidence confirms that saturated fatty acids should be considered within a non-isolated composition, since within the matrix of the food of origin there may be components that can enhance health, as is the case of palm oil when it is source of tocotrienols and carotenes”, says Baena.
The panorama in Colombia
An entity that supports palm growers in defending their interests, such as the National Federation of Oil Palm Growers (Fedepalma), is made up of small, medium and large oil palm growers:
Panorama of palm oil in Colombia
- Colombia is currently the world’s fourth largest producer of palm oil and the first in America.
- Colombia contributes more than 2% of the global production of crude palm oil.
- In 2019, the production of the national palm sector had a participation of 8% in the national agricultural GDP.
Palm oil is responsible
- The Colombian palm sector is made up of more than 6,800 palm growers, of which 85% are small.
- Contributes to social development.
- The cultivation of palm generates about 195,000 direct and indirect jobs, with a formality of more than 85 percent, contrary to what generally occurs in the agricultural sector.
- For every 1% increase in planted area, there is an increase in education of more than 2%, both in primary and high school, and health coverage is expanded by 1.5 percent, benefiting the entire community where it’s found.
- More than 31% of small-scale producers are women and more than 14 percent of direct employment in palm belongs to women.
- Minimum impact of deforestation.
Posted by Iraic.info, a news and information agency.