Palm oil

Palm oil is a commonly used cooking oil obtained from the fruit of the African oil palm tree, Elaeis guineensis. It is the second most abundantly produced vegetable oil in the world, following soybean oil 1. Unrefined palm oils appear reddish in color due to large amounts of provitamin A carotenoids such as beta-carotene. Red palm oil also contains vitamin E, plant sterols and coenzyme Q10 2. Commercially refined palm oil is used to fry foods and for making margarine, shortening and other products.


  1. Ensminger AH, Ensminger ME, Konlande JE, Robson JRK. The Concise Encyclopedia of Foods and Nutrition. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 1995.
  2. Bonnie TYP, Choo YM. Valuable minor constituents of commercial red palm olein: carotenoids, vitamin E, ubiquinones and sterols. Journal of Oil Palm Research 2000;12:14-24.