Palm Oil Fruits for Bhu Foods blog about Red Palm Oil Myths

Healthy or Not? Debunking Health Myths of Red Palm Oil

Red palm oil comes from the fruit of the fleshy oil palm. It gets its name, as you might guess, from its reddish orange color when in an unrefined state. That deep hue is the result of β-carotene (the Vitamin A precursor famous for making carrots orange) and lycopene. Palm oil is also the subject of controversial discussion, because unsustainable palm oil farming is the cause of widespread deforestation in ecologically sensitive tropical jungles. It’s also often confused with palm kernel oil, a much less healthy oil derived from an entirely different part of the oil palm, and by a different process. 

However, the widespread myths and misconceptions about palm oil can sometimes be mind-boggling. So, I’ll take this opportunity to do a quick un-boggling before getting into the nitty-gritty of red palm oil. 

Here at Bhu Foods, we only use organic, certified sustainable red palm oil. This means that the palm oil we use has been vetted by a verified third-party organization as dietarily and environmentally clean. (Pssst… that goes for all our ingredients!)

Bhu Foods believes in human and environmental well-being, so we use organic products from the best sources we can find. In this case, we use red palm oil that does not endanger orangutans or vital forest ecosystems. 

With that, read on to learn more about the components and benefits of red palm oil, and how it differs from its “evil step cousin”, palm kernel oil.

Oil Palm Fruit cut to show the interior of the fruit and seed for a Bhu Foods blog about health benefits of sustainably sourced red palm oil

Red Palm Oil vs. Palm Kernel Oil - Why Red Palm Oil is Healthier for You than Palm Kernel Oil

It’s important to note that unrefined red palm oil and palm kernel oil are two very different oils. Unlike palm kernel oil, which is high in harmful cholesterol and saturated fats, red palm oil has been shown in studies to reduce cholesterol levels. It’s also free of trans-fats, and rich in carotenoids, making it the healthier option.

According to various studies, consuming foods containing fats found in red palm oil has been linked to anti-aging, brain health, cancer prevention, and helping to stop Vitamin A deficiency. Its high concentration of Vitamin E and antioxidants makes it an excellent ingredient for strengthening the immune system. 

Palm oil contains 50% saturated fat, while palm kernel oil contains about 85% saturated fat. That’s a big difference. [1, 2] Too much saturated fat can lead to increased LDL (the bad cholesterol), which is a factor for heart disease like heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, circulation issues, and cholesterol buildup in the arteries. [3]

Health Properties of Red Palm Oil

Unlike palm kernel oil, unsaturated red palm oil is shown to have health benefits:

  • Enhanced brain health

Beyond heart health, red palm oil can be good for the brain. That’s because red palm oil contains high concentrations of vitamin A, which protects your brain from free radicals and may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. [4]

  • Eye health Maintenance

According to studies, eating a diet high in oil can improve your body's absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A. [5] Vitamin A is also widely known to aid in eye health. [6] Including red palm oil in your meals can help raise your vitamin A levels if you have a genetic disorder or other health conditions that make it challenging to digest fat. And since many people rely on meat, dairy, and fish for vitamin A, red palm oil is a great source of vitamin A for vegans and vegetarians. 

  • Healthier heart health

We touched on it above, but it bears repeating: red palm oil may improve heart function in the right circumstances. Red palm oil's carotenoids and vitamin E concentrations have antioxidant properties that can reduce blood vessel constriction and atherosclerosis. More research is required to validate this effect, but the results are encouraging.

Our Commitment to People & Planet

Bhu Foods started with a simple conversation between food-loving friends. Now, our products aren’t just a staple in cupboards across the country, but we’re a voice for clean ingredients—at all cost. 

We're mindful of our welfare, weight, and health, and we believe that everyone should have access to healthy, delicious, and organic foods. Foods that are not only good for the body, but grown and processed in ways that are good to the planet.

We realize that unsustainable sources of palm oil are major drivers of deforestation, habitat destruction, and reduced species diversity. Orangutans have made global headlines as one of the most endangered species threatened by deforestation from unsustainable palm oil, but we realize whole ecosystems are at risk when ingredients are not sourced in a sustainable manner.

That’s why Bhu Food's red palm oil is supplied from Columbia, not Southeast Asia, using Spectrum/Hain Palm Oil approved by RSPO as sustainable. As a result, orangutans are not endangered. 

A mother and baby orangutan in a tree. Orangutans are endangered due to habitat loss due to deforestation, largely driven by unsustainable palm oil sourcing. Bhu Foods only uses certified sustainable red palm oil.

Still skeptical? We’re glad—we believe consumers should be vigilant about the food they eat. Feed your curiosity with info from RSPO’s website to learn more about sustainable palm oil.

By demonstrating what it entails to run a responsible business, Bhu Foods is trying to change how people think about food. We achieve this by providing extremely high quality, uncompromisingly healthy products that are low in sugar, transparently  labeled, and high in beneficial nutrients while exceeding customer expectations for quality, nutrition, and respect for the environment.


Red palm oil is significantly healthier than palm kernel oil. It’s much lower in saturated fat and much higher in beneficial nutrients. Mass-produced foods are often made with highly processed palm kernel oil because it’s cheap and nearly flavorless. By contrast, red palm oil can be full of flavor and health benefits. 

But not all palm oil is equal—whether you’re buying red palm oil by the jar, or in products using it, be sure to check that the label says “sustainably sourced” and that the accrediting organization is real and legitimate. 

You agree that knowledge truly is power, right? Visit our FAQ section for brief explanations of our products and why they are healthy for humans and the environment.