Palm kernel oil, which is extracted from the nut, or kernel, of a species of African palm tree, is commonly referred to as tropical oil. Palm kernel oil is primarily composed of fatty triglycerides, with approximately 80 percent saturated fats and 20 percent unsaturated fats. Palm kernel oil can be found in a number of products, including margarine, vegetable oil and shortening, creamers, chocolate and ice cream. Depending on the amount per serving, palm kernel oil may offer some health benefits.
One benefit of palm kernel oil is that it is completely free of cholesterol, which is not the case with animal-based fats like butter. Due to the cholesterol-free nature of vegetable-based oils and margarines, like palm kernel oil, there has been some speculation that these types of oils and fats are healthier than butter. However, this may not be the case. According to the Cleveland Clinic, margarines contain trans-fats that can lead to heart disease.