The oil contained in ripe fruits produced by cultivars of African oil palm Elaeis guineensis Jacq., as well as that obtained from fresh fruit bunches of certain inter-specific hybrid cultivars derived from crossbreeding between Elaeis oleifera (Kunth) Cortés and E. guineensis Jacq., have shown to be lipid substrates rich in valuable phytochemicals with exceptional biological properties and functional applications for multiple human health tasks. Eight isoforms of vitamin E (four tocopherols and four tocotrienols), α- and β-carotene, squalene, and various phenolic structures, make up the largest group of minor compounds in palm oil and are essential nutrients with physiological functions that include, but are not limited to their antioxidant properties. Vitamin E regulates the redox (oxidation-reduction) balance in the body, and compounds such as squalene and carotenoids are ubiquitously distributed throughout the body, including cell membranes and lipoproteins. Several studies suggest that regular intake of foods rich in this group of phytonutrients minimizes the reactivity of oxidative chemical species at the cellular level and serves as an effective adjunct in the treatment of oxidative stress.
Part of the book: Elaeis guineensis