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Palm oil: What is it and should you consume?

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Owing to the fact that it is one of the least expensive vegetable oils available, palm oil’s popularity has soared in recent years. But do you know how palm oil is extracted and is used in our day-to-day life?

“Most snack brands use palm oil, which can be a major cause of lifestyle disorders like fatty liver and serious ailments like cancer,” said Vipul Gambhir, Business Head of Yummiano.

He added that palm oil is majorly used in cooking as well as in many ready-to-eat foods sold in grocery stores. In certain parts of the world, it is also used in animal feed and as a biofuel.

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is extracted from the fleshy fruit of oil palm, and because of its reddish-orange hue, unrefined palm oil is also known as red palm oil. Palm oil, like coconut oil, is semi-solid at room temperature. However, its melting point is 95°F (35°C), which is significantly higher than the melting point of coconut oil, which is 76°F (24°C). This is attributed to the two oils’ distinct fatty acid compositions.

Is palm oil good for you?

Palm oil has gained a poor reputation in recent decades due to its incredibly high saturated fat content. Accusations of a link between saturated fats, blood cholesterol, obesity, and cardiovascular disease abound in the scientific literature. “Palm oil comprises 50 per cent saturated fatty acids (SFAs), 40 per cent monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), and 10 per cent polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (PUFAs),” he told indianexpress.com.

Below, she shared three critical reasons as to why one should look for an alternative oil:

Palm oil increases cholesterol levels: Although some researchers claim that palm oil lowers cholesterol levels, others claim that it raises “bad” cholesterol levels. A recent research compared palm oil to other oils, such as olive oil, refined oil, coconut oil, and found that palm oil performed worse. According to one study, palm oil raises cholesterol in healthy people. While palm oil is probably healthier than butter, you should avoid it.

Increases risks of atherosclerosis: Tocotrienol levels in fresh and aged palm oil are slightly different. As a result, reheated palm oil has far fewer advantages than fresh palm oil. Reheated palm oil may not only lose the benefits of fresh palm oil, but it may also increase your risk of heart disease such as atherosclerosis.

Increases risks of heart diseases: Palm oil has a comparatively high saturated fat content as compared to other liquid oils. Palm oil contains about 34 per cent saturated fat, while olive oil contains less than half of it. Saturated fats have been attributed to an elevated risk of heart disease and other serious health problems.

Could increase your appetite: Few saturated fats tend to be more likely than others to induce artery cholesterol accumulation. Palmitic acid, the primary fat in palm kernel oil, is one of these fats. Furthermore, studies have shown that palmitic acid causes mice to become immune to the appetite-suppressing hormones leptin and insulin, which may lead to them eating more.

Palm oil can result in global warming: Palm oil production is regarded as an environmental threat because it contributes significantly to global warming and improvements in general climatic conditions. This occurs as the ground outside is being cleared by fire and the species in the area are being evacuated. The smoke from these agricultural fires lingers in the air for weeks, if not months. Thus, further can become a major reason for respiratory issues in humans.



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Health

Here’s what causes frequent inflammation in your stomach

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You know that burning feeling in your stomach when you consume something spicy or oily? That is inflammation. It happens when the stomach lining starts to erode. But, we also need inflammation to survive, offered Mark Hyman, NY Times bestselling author and a family physician.

“The trouble occurs when that defense system runs out of control as a rebel army bent on destroying its own country. Most people are familiar with overactive immune responses and too much inflammation in common conditions like allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease or asthma,” he explained on an Instagram post.⁣⁣

But inflammation is also the root of all chronic illness such as dementia, cancer, autism or various heart diseases and obesity. In order to solve this issue, we first need to understand the causes of the same. Take a look at the possible reasons.

Hyman said we need to “first identify the triggers and causes of inflammation, and then help the body’s natural immune balance reset by providing the right conditions for it to thrive.⁣⁣”
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He added while we are always trying to calm our inflammation with various solutions available at hand, we never really address the cause. “The cause has multiple problems that are really linked together by inflammation,.”
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In order to reach the root of the causes, he suggested some “disarmingly simple, but 7 extraordinarily effective ways”.

  • Incorporate high fibre food preferably a plant-based diet that is ⁣anti-inflammatory in nature.⁣⁣
  • Secondly, eat healthy fats which can be derived from “olive oil, nuts, avocados and omega 3 fats from small fish like sardines, herring, sable, and wild salmon”.⁣⁣
  • Next, exercise. Squeeze in at least a 30-minute walk or running in your schedule every day. ⁣⁣
  • “Learn to actively relax to engage your vagus nerve, the powerful nerve that relaxes your whole body and lowers inflammation, by doing yoga, meditation, deep breathing or even taking a hot bath.”
  • Keep a track of your food allergies. If an item does not go down well with you, simply stop consuming it.
  • Take probiotics to keep your gut healthy. This immensely helps in reducing inflammation.⁣⁣
  • Lastly, do not forget to “take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement which helps reduce inflammation”.

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Autism: Debunking some common myths

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“After years of working with children on the spectrum, one fact has become clear as day: if you’ve met a person with autism, you’ve met only one individual with autism. The constellation of common characteristics in autistic persons can be starkly different. This is to say that with so many unique individuals, the autism community is more diverse than you can imagine,” said Dr Stephen Shore, co-founder, Learn Autism.

He added that this fact, along with many others about autism, is lesser-known in India and in many parts of the world. Therefore, the need for building awareness and bolstering inclusion is imperative.

“In the spirit of Autism Awareness Month observed every April, here’s looking at some of the common myths about autism, and gaining the right knowledge to move past them,” he told indianexpress.com.

Myth 1: Autistic individuals cannot build or maintain relationships
Fact – Individuals on the spectrum can form fulfilling and lasting relationships. While we commonly display differences in social interaction and communication, we do not characteristically prefer social isolation. Autistic individuals frequently have trouble understanding social cues, which is why they can build stronger relationships with people who are empathetic, patient, and willing to understand their perspectives. Here, one-on-one interaction through social media can be a beneficial first step.

Myth 2: Autism can be cured with medication
Fact – Whereas many people believe that Autism can be cured with a certain set of medicines, there is no such medicine available, or even required to ‘treat’ Autism. Autism is an irreversible neurodevelopmental difference that on one hand can be very disordering, yet on the other, can provide pathways to developing incredible skills in areas such as the sciences, the arts, education, and elsewhere. While Autism cannot be ‘cured’, focusing on abilities empowers Autistic individuals to lead happy, productive, and independent lives with the right support and intervention.

Myth 3: Individuals with Autism are intellectually inferior
Fact – People with Autism have the same range of intellect as the general population and can excel at one or more things just like everybody else. Different people can have different gifts, such as mathematical ability, artistic excellence, etc. It just boils down to becoming aware of and nurturing the person’s interests to reveal talents and abilities.

Myth 4: Everyone with Autism is non-speaking
Fact – The reason why we call it the ‘Autism Spectrum’ is because it is just that – a range of different people, personalities, behavior patterns, interests, and abilities. Thus, to say that each Autistic individual is non-speaking would be entirely misguided. Some individuals on the spectrum merely have impaired social communication skills. Others may have difficulties in comprehension. And, another percentage of individuals may not speak at all, yet interact through an assistive communication device, a letter board, or sign language. An Autism diagnosis is broad, which makes personalised interventions focused on individual needs critical.

Myth 5: Repetitive tasks suit Autistic individuals the best
Fact – Repetitive behaviour is seen in a lot of people on the spectrum. However, as established above, there are diverse behaviour patterns to be seen in Autistic individuals. Therefore, while some may enjoy repetitive jobs, others may be suited to other, more complex job roles. Given this fact, parents, educators, etc. need to identify the strengths and look at the most suitable career paths for Autistic youth and adults.

Some individuals on the Autism spectrum can go through life independently and others require a great deal of support at every stage. At the end of the day, it comes down to the support system, ensuring a successful and happy life. If we know someone on the spectrum, the best thing is to educate ourselves, avoid baseless myths, and encourage awareness and inclusion wherever we can for promoting a fulfilling and productive life for individuals on the Autism spectrum.



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