Incredible Health Benefits and Uses of Cocoa Butter
The health benefits of cocoa butter are known worldwide. Cocoa butter has been used for centuries, being popular for its medicinal properties. The Mayans used it, the Aztecs too, and now restaurateurs all over the world are using it to whip up culinary delicacies. But it’s more than just food and medicine; it’s good for your skin too. To be more specific, the raw butter comes from cocoa beans and since it’s butter, it’s technically fat.
What Is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is butter that is extracted from cocoa beans. The other name for it is Theobroma oil and the butter is used in making chocolates, confectionaries, ointments, cosmetics, and in various pharmaceutical applications. High in antioxidants and jam-packed with various health benefits, using cocoa butter is one of the surest ways to meet 43% of your RDA for fat. Shelf life is another advantage of using cocoa butter since it stays intact for up to 2 to 5 years when stored properly inside the refrigerator.
You also get raw cocoa butter as a grounded powder these days, and the unrefined version comes with zero added chemicals or dilution.
Nutritional Profile of Cocoa Butter
Here’s what you get in terms of fat content and calories when it comes to 100 grams of cocoa butter. Keep in mind that cocoa butter is mostly well known for its fat content and not for a wide variety of nutrients.
|Saturated fat||59.7 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||32.9 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat||3 g|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||100 mg|
|Omega-6 fatty acid||2800 mg|
Surprising Uses and Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter delivers a host of health and nutritional benefits. From taking care of your skin to using cocoa butter for hair, it helps you meet RDA for fat, making it much more than merely a natural superfood. Here’s a list of the surprising cocoa butter health benefits followed by its uses:
1. Gets Rid of Stretch Marks
Applying unrefined, raw cocoa butter for stretch marks regularly will help diminish their appearance, sometimes going so far as in eliminating them completely. You can use cocoa butter to make body butter and apply it after wetting your skin. It nourishes your skin by supplying it with essential fats and vitamins, leaving it soft, supple, and glowing.
2. Used for Moisturizing Your Scalp
You can use unrefined raw cocoa butter to moisturize your scalp. If you suffer from dull hair, that’ll help eliminate it since it will nourish your hair locks with its host of nutrients. It’s best applied to your hair before you use shampoo and will protect the natural oils on your scalp against hard water.
3. Used As a Deep Conditioner
if you’ve got frizzy hair or a dry scalp, you can use cocoa butter to condition it deeply. You have to leave it on for a few hours after showering and rinse it later. Make sure you melt the butter until it turns oily, and comb through your hair with this.
4. Prevents Free Radical Damage
Free radical damage caused by oxidative stress is one of the biggest causes of ageing. Too much stress in your body leads to premature greying of your hair. To prevent this, just eat some raw cocoa butter every day and incorporate it in your recipes. It will heal your body internally and fight against f free radicals, thus eliminating wrinkles, age spots, and dark areas on your skin.
5. Helps for Sensitive Skin Types and Acne Scars
For those who have sensitive skin, we’ve got good news for you. Cocoa butter work and doesn’t cause any side effects. It’s soothing on your skin, and it also helps get rid of acne scars slowly. If you use it regularly, it’ll also hydrate your skin and improve its texture too.
6. Eliminates Chapped Lips
One of the biggest advantages of cocoa butter is it is effective in healing chapped lips. Raw cocoa butter uses have a myriad of applications in lip balms and skin care products. You can combine them with essential oils like grapefruit, peppermint, or spearmint oil for achieving smooth and supple lips. Additionally, hydrating your lips with cocoa butter protects it from sun damage.
7. Heals Rashes, Burns, and Skin Infections
If you’ve got any rashes, burns, or skin infections, you can heal your skin by rubbing some cocoa butter on the affected spots. You have to make sure there are no added ingredients and that you’re using raw, unrefined, natural cocoa butter. It’s also useful in healing skin eczema and dermatitis and reduces inflammation, too. When cocoa butter for skin is combined with tea tree oil, it rapidly heals rashes and sensitive skin conditions.
8. Treats Mouth Sores
If you get blisters in your mouth, you can get rid of them by applying some raw cocoa butter to those spots. This is one of the lesser-known raw cocoa butter uses.
9. Useful as a Shaving Cream
Ditch your commercial shaving creams and start using raw cocoa butter for a smooth and flawless shave. It hydrates your skin, is gentle, and is best used after showering. Make sure you shower with warm water before using it. You can use it for aromatherapy, too, by combining it with various essential oils and taking it in.
10. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Plant-based saturated fats are known to be beneficial in regulating cholesterol levels in the body. What you want is more “good” cholesterol and less “bad cholesterol”. Polyphenolic compounds are found in raw cocoa butter, which helps reduce inflammation, thus lowering one’s risk of atherosclerosis. However, dried cocoa powder has a higher density of nutrients when compared to butter when it comes to polyphenol content.
11. Gives Your Immune System A Boost
Cocoa butter has been shown to strengthen one’s immune system, according to research. It lowers your inflammation markers, fights against cellular mutations and DNA damage, and combats autoimmune disorders, which are the cause of chronic fatigue. There’s research that backs this up, and here’s the bonus – it’s also good for your hormones and cognitive health.
12. Improves Blood Flow to Your Skin
Since cocoa butter is high in phytochemicals, it ends up boosting blood circulation to your skin. This means you get a natural glow and have fewer chances of getting fine lines, saggy skin and wrinkles. It improves your skin elasticity, too, when rubbed all over. With better blood circulation to your skin, also means you’ll be able to perform better and experience increased energy levels. The fat content in cocoa butter also gives your metabolism a nice boost.
13. Makes You Feel Happier
Consuming cocoa butter in its raw and purest form has been shown to raise serotonin and endorphin levels in your body. This improves your mood and makes you feel happier. There’s a reason chocolate is famous, and now you know why. The magnesium content in cocoa butter is also responsible for regulating progesterone levels in your body, thus effectively preventing mood swings and beating depression. You can use raw cocoa butter to make your very own homemade chocolate.
And here’s a fun fact: Did you know that cocoa nibs are a by-product of raw cocoa butter? Yes!
How to Make Cocoa Butter at Home?
Thinking of brewing up your own cocoa butter? Don’t worry; it’s easy! And it’s good for you, too, since it’s completely natural.
- Harvested cocoa pods or raw cocoa beans
- For this, you’ll just need a few harvested cocoa pods or raw cocoa beans. Raw cocoa beans are extracted from the pods. All you have to do is get the beans out (which are white in colour) and dry them out in the sun
- After they’re dried up, just press them hard and extract the oil
- Bring the oil to a boil in a pan, stirring occasionally
- Use a strainer to filter out any dust or dirt
- Pour this oil into a container and refrigerate
- You’ll see it turn into raw cocoa butter. When you’re ready to use, cut the butter into different shapes or melt and apply it wherever you want. You can use the oil as a dressing or butter for making homemade chocolates and sweets.
Things to Remember while Consuming Cocoa Butter
There are a couple of things to remember when consuming cocoa butter-
1. Take It in Moderation
If you’re adding it to your diet, it’s advisable you don’t go overboard with it since it’s high in calories. If you’re suffering from obesity, watching your calories, or simply trying to lose weight, cut down on it or replace it with low-calorie vegetable oil alternatives
2. It’s Still Fat
Although it’s a healthy fat, it’s still fat. If you’re suffering from heart conditions and your doctor has advised you to watch your fat intake, then it’s a good idea to avoid it.
3. It Is Not a Significant Source of Nutrients
Cocoa butter is loaded with different types of plant-based fats. When it comes to nutrition, it doesn’t pack a lot of punch. You will have to eat your greens and other food groups to make up for the gaps.
Here are a few questions asked by readers about cocoa butter and their relevant answers below.
1. What’s the Difference Between Refined & Unrefined Cocoa Butter?
Refined cocoa butter is processed and has its colour and scent removed. Unrefined cocoa butter is butter extracted straight from the beans without any further processing, additives, or additional substances.
2. Can I Use Cocoa Butter Instead of Shea Butter?
Yes, you can use cocoa butter instead of shea butter. Just like shea butter, cocoa butter acts as an effective moisturizer, has anti-inflammatory properties, softens the skin, and is high in vitamins E and K.
When you start using cocoa butter every day for your skincare routine or nutrition, you’ll slowly begin noticing the changes. You’ll have to give it time and remember to watch your calories if you’re planning to eat it. Cocoa butter can be used for making chocolates and homemade recipes and is a lot healthier than store-bought confectionaries. You’ll find that for those having sweet teeth, it’s a definite plus.
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2. Oil, cocoa butter; FoodData Central; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171421/nutrients; April 2019
3. Wang. M, Wei. Y, Ji. B, Nielsen. J; Advances in Metabolic Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for Cocoa Butter Equivalent Production; Front Bioeng Biotechnol.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33178680/; October 2020
4. Quek .RYC, Peh. EWY, Henry. CJ; Effects of Cocoa Butter and Cocoa Butter Equivalent in a Chocolate Confectionery on Human Blood Triglycerides, Glucose and Insulin; Foods.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32276375/; April 2020
5. Khan. N, Khymenets. O, Urpí-Sardà. M, et al.; Cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory markers of cardiovascular disease. Nutrients.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24566441/; February 2014
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