Pour on the red-palm fruit oil

Ol

ive oil

has been dubbed the heart-healthy king of its class, making the Mediterranean diet a global role model.

Coconut oil

beats the heat like no other fat, has a long shelf life maintaining its integrity for several months while putting the skids on cholesterol.

Avocado oil

— a blend of monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fats — has a variety of uses from sautéing to marinades and dressings.

Flax oil

, a plant-based Omega-3 powerhouse is the vegan answer to fish oil.

Peanut oil

is superb for deep-frying, while

black or white truffle

is a divine finishing oil.

But the new rock star of the oil world is

organic, red-palm fruit

Here’s why.

Everything old is new again

Red-palm fruit oil has been revered for its healthful properties by ancient peoples for 5,000 years.

Food folklorists have also noted that this magnificent oil (a stunning eye candy worshipped by Egyptian pharaohs as a sacred healing food), may have been entombed in their sarcophagi so they could enjoy the precious nutrient in the afterlife.

The perks of palm

With its rich amber hue, nutrient-dense red palm oil adds a motherlode of antioxidants to amp up ocular, skin and cellular health, bone metabolism and the immune system. It is one of the highest plant-based oil sources of Vitamin A, including alpha- and beta-carotenes, lycopenes and a mighty form of natural Vitamin E called alpha tocotrienol. The latter has been linked to protecting the brain’s nerve cells and dialing up blood flow, lessening the effect of strokes and degenerative diseases, while also acting as a mighty warrior against certain cancers from skin to prostate.

In addition, the orangey oil is packed with “medium-chain” and “short-chain” fatty acids, such as monounsaturated omega-9s to mitigate cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol with its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to remove plaque accumulation in the arteries.

There’s more. A fountain of youth fat, this superfood has been found to decelerate premature aging by its protective effect against harmful UV rays.

A kernel of an idea

Vibrant virgin organic red palm fruit oil, a healthful, plant-based food revered by indigenous cultures and ancient civilizations for thousands of years should not be mistaken for the notorious artery-clogging imposter — the palm kernel oil.

While the former is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, the latter is extracted from the seed or the kernel of the plant with a whopping 89 percent saturated fat content without the full load of antioxidants and other phytonutrients.

Alas, this doppelganger is responsible for creating a stigma for its virtuous cousin, accounting for one of the worst misconceptions of modern nutritional thinking.

Going ape

Red-palm oil critics have sustainable bones to pick with the crop. Unfortunately, it has been linked to tinkering with rainforest and orangutan habitats in Asia. However, the organic fruit grown and harvested in parts of Malaysia and Ecuador is sustainable, and does not cause deforestation or any other habitat destruction (especially since the mighty mammals don’t live in South America).

RED-Palm Oil Hummus

Ingredients

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained

1 tablespoon red palm oil (blended version)

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

4 tablespoons hot water

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1/3 cup of chia, flax or hemp seeds (optional)

Method:

Place the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, seeds, hot water, salt, garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender. Process for two minutes until a smooth consistency forms. Spoon into a bowl, drizzle with red palm oil and sprinkle with parsley. Refrigerate for up to one week.

—— For additional healthy recipes, e-mail

kitchenshrink@san.rr.com

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