For many Africans, red palm oil is the oil of choice when cooking the continent’s finest dishes. However, red palm oil has also been labeled over the years as “unhealthy” or “harmful.”
Face2Face Africa reached out to our resident chef Pierre Thiam to set the record straight on the matter — and in addition to beautiful photos of red palm oil being made in Etoufane, a Diola village in Casamance (South Senegal), the traditional way — Chef Thiam dispelled the controversy and myths surrounding the Red Gold.
Thiam writes, in part: “As opposed to the highly processed palm kernel oil, which is colorless, red palm oil has a deep orange color due to its rich content of beta-carotene at 10 times the amount of carrots.
“Extracted from the flesh of the palm fruit, red oil has an incredible amount of health benefits.
“In fact, rich in vitamins A and E, antioxidants, and co-enzyme Q10, red palm oil is now considered a super food.
“And studies have demonstrated that it can lower cholesterol and maintain proper blood pressure.
“So what should the conscious consumer do?
“Populations of Central and West Africa have been enjoying palm oil’s subtle yet complex benefits for more than 5,000 years.
“This is the palm oil that the conscious consumer should look for: palm oil sourced from small farmers that has been extracted naturally, without industrial hydrogenation, and has been made for countless generations in Africa.”