Palm oil is edible vegetable oil derived from palm fruit and kernels (seeds). Palm oil is naturally red because it contains a high amount of beta-carotene (boiling can destroy the Carotenoids and render the oil colourless). Palm oil is one of the few vegetable oils relatively high in saturated fats (like coconut oil) and thus semi-solid at room temperature.
Palm oil is widely used as cooking oil, as an ingredient in margarine, and is a component of many foods. It is also an important component of many soaps, washing powders and personal care products, is used to treat wounds, and also controversially as a feedstock for biofuel.
Palm oil and palm kernel oil are composed of fatty acids, esterified with glycerol just like any ordinary fat. Both are high in saturated fatty acids, about 50% and 80%, respectively. The oil palm gives its name to the 16 carbon saturated fatty acid palmitic acid found in palm oil; monounsaturated oleic acid is also a constituent of palm oil while palm kernel oil contains mainly lauric acid. Palm oil is the largest natural source of to cotrienol, part of the vitamin E family. Palm oil is also high in vitamin K and dietary magnesium.