St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

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Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Health Benefits of a Staple Oil in Sierra Leone

The people of the world know about Sierra Leone because of the recent War - a war filled with atrocities.  A war brought on by greed.  This is because a product (diamonds) of a country, not its people, was the main concern of rebels as well as  political and economic powers.   

Yet, there is a  less known specialty product of Sierra Leone; it is Red Palm Oil.  Considering its health qualities, in my opinion, its more valuable than diamonds.  (Health over Flash) ...But that's just me.  Having witnessed the atrocities in Sierra Leone, diamonds are not this girl's "best friend".

The Red Palm Oil is derived from the fruits of the palm tree; more specifically, it is extracted from the pulp of its fruit. It is called red palm oil because of its natural reddish hue, due to the high amount of carotenes it possesses. Do not confuse palm oil with the oil that comes from the kernel, or seed (called palm kernel oil). 

My favorite dish is Ground Nut Soup or Cassava Leaf - both dishes served over rice are made with this wonderful oil.  At St. Simeon Skete we serve this meal quite often.  Linda has become a pro at preparing it and it is now one of her favorite dishes as well.  

Unlike those in Sierra Leone who must pick the nut and cook out the oil, I am able to purchase Red Palm Oil from West Africa online from -  (Click on Amazon link to purchase) delivered right to our door.

NHA is working with Pa Foday to develop a Red Palm Tree Grove & Farm, hoping to export to support our school and outlying villages.   Right now, most of the exported Red Palm Oil is coming from Ghana. 

The unique distinctive flavor of this oil is one thing, the ability to fry things nicely at high temperatures is another - however, the best reason for using this oil is its health benefits.

All of the essential fatty acids that red palm oil contains are necessary for the proper growth and development of the human body. 
The oil also supplies quite the selection of vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are also important for good health. To sum it up, here is a list of all the health benefits that red palm oil provides.
  • The red color appears because of the combination of the alpha-carotenes, beta-carotenes, and lycopene.
  • Other nutrients that red palm oil contains include: vitamin K, CoQ10, squalene, phytosterols, flavonoids, glycolipids, and phenolic acids.
  • Both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are vitamin A precursors, also known as provitamin A; this means that once the body has these carotenes, it is able to make vitamin A. Red palm oil is one of the richest dietary sources of this essential vitamin. In fact, it contains more than carrots and tomatoes combined. Those who are lacking vitamin A or provitamin A in their diet suffer from blindness or other vision problems, weakened bones, and weakened immune system.
  • Red palm oil has plentiful amounts (in fact, the most abundant of any natural dietary source) of vitamin E, which is in the form of tocopherols and tocotrienols.
  • The antioxidants (tocopherols, tocotrienols, and carotenes) that red palm oil contains are very potent and help fight off free radicals that can damage cells in the body. The benefits of antioxidants include providing protection against cancer and heart disease, and slowing the aging process.
  • Some of the other health benefits that have been researched are:
    • Improved blood circulation.
    • Improved blood sugar control.
    • Improved nutrient absorption by the body.
    • Stronger bones and teeth.
  • Red palm oil, when consumed during pregnancy, can improve both the mother’s and the baby’s vitamin A status.
  • It is being looked at for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition because it is abundant in many different nutrients.
  • More recently, it is being encapsulated and sold as a dietary supplement.
  • Many processed foods have palm oil as an ingredient. Just read your food labels and you will start to see how widely it is used.

Red palm oil has been an international cooking favorite for centuries. In Sierra Leone, red palm oil is a staple in both the household and in cooking. It is good to use for cooking because it is more heat stable than other cooking oils, meaning it can withstand higher temperatures and still retain its form and nutritious properties; it is useful in both baked goods and cooking.

In addition to getting palm oil in through dietary sources, it has other conventional uses that may interest you.
  • Because it is packed with certain fatty acids (myristic and lauric), it is useful in the manufacturing of soaps, washing powders, and personal care products. Lauric acid is very important in soap making because it allows for a quick lathering when the product is being used.
  • It is used for biodiesel fuel purposes.
So when many are looking to Sierra Leone for diamonds and gold - that do nothing for your health, I suggest you check out some Red Palm Oil for your health.   

My only warning about Red Palm Oil is that it stains....and it really stains!   Precautions (dark colored aprons) as you prepare meals with this oil can prevent any catastrophe.   If you do get it on your clothing, simply treat immediately with prewash and scrub brush.  Its worth the inconvenience.  

Health statistics for red palm oil were researched through