Plant-based Ingredients: Tips for Supporting Heart Health

Plant-based ingredients are becoming more popular. February is Heart Health Month, the perfect time to turn your attention to your heart health and take care of your heart as part of a regular self-care routine, with proper diet, exercise and stress reduction. Heart health ranks consistently at the top of our concerns—yet interesting new research shows that when it comes to the facts about this important organ, we don’t always get it right, according to a recent report from the Cleveland Clinic.

Heart health blunders

68% of Americans are concerned about dying from heart disease, yet many Americans do not know the most important factors in calculating heart disease risk.

46% of Americans know their bank account balance but only 38% of Americans know their blood pressure.

26% of Americans know their retirement savings but only 12% of Americans know their LDL cholesterol.

Additionally, the report finds that a full 90% of heart disease is preventable with lifestyle choices but only 8% of people know this! One common misconception? Many people still believe that a low-fat diet is healthiest for the heart when actually a balanced diet complete with healthy fats is the best choice.

Plant-based ingredients like palm oil is one of these fats.

  • For thousands of years, oil from plant-based ingredients like palm oil has been a major source of cooking oil in Asia and Africa and is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world.
  • A healthy alternative to harmful trans fats, palm oil is 50% unsaturated fatty acids, which studies show does not negatively impact cholesterol. In fact, research shows that palmitic acid, the main saturated fat in palm oil, has a similar effect on cholesterol levels as the oleic acid found in monounsaturated fat.

Palm oil is rich in:

  • Vitamin E: This antioxidant and cholesterol-friendly vitamin is strongly recommended for supporting a healthy heart.
  • Coenzyme Q10: Ten times stronger than vitamin E, this antioxidant supports a healthy heart, an important factor since cellular damage is a known risk factor for heart disease.
  • Carotenoids: Responsible for the brilliant orange color of crude palm oil, alpha- and beta-carotene are precursors of vitamin A, which supports eye and tissue health.
  • Phytosterols: These naturally occurring plant compounds are shown to help keep “bad” cholesterol in check.
  • And oil from plant-based ingredients like palm oil, helps important fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) be absorbed in the body.

Don’t forget: It’s well established that fats from plant-based ingredients like palm oil improve palatability of food, help release flavors and aromas when cooking and increase fullness and satisfaction. Additionally, according to a report in the World Journal of Cardiology, the negative news you may have heard in the past on palm oil has been driven by certain groups with their own agenda, not necessarily in line with science.

The truth is emerging, led by pioneers in the industry, that sustainably produced palm is good for the planet—we are experiencing a powerful movement forward in sustainable palm—the community and your health. This Heart Health Month, promote and look for sustainable palm products with specialty certifications like USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Fair Trade USA Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified to ensure you are getting the best palm for body and planet.

Here’s to your heart!