Cocoa butter is a popular addition to many products such as cosmetics, chocolates, etc. (1)
The appearance of cocoa butter in various fields makes people feel confused what it really is.
In fact, it is a kind of vegetable fat which comes from cocoa beans. Cocoa beans are said to have originated from Central and South American areas. For centuries, people in the Caribbean or Mesoamerica have widely used this to moisturize their skin naturally.
Interestingly, this butter shares similarity with flavor and smell of cocoa beans. When more people started to pay attention to its mild fragrance and very smooth texture, it became a popular element in beauty products and has made booming on the global scale.
In this article, readers will have information about nutrition facts and health benefits of cocoa butter that have been verified by scientific evidences.
Cocoa butter is known for its long expiration date which ranges from 2 to 5 years. Even though cocoa butter is found under many forms, it appears most common in chocolate. It is the main ingredient in any tasty chocolate product.
Regarding cocoa butter nutrition, it is a nutritious food from which people can benefit to some extents.
However, the high content of calories in cocoa butter may contribute to obesity.
Therefore, people should be careful when consuming this butter in huge amount. Instead, there are various ways to make use of this ingredient. Looking into the ingredient list of cocoa butter, people can easily see the outstanding position of antioxidant. (2)
Its richness of antioxidants is claimed to come from flavonoids and polyphenols in its content. The fact is that cocoa beans can be considered as one of the best sources of polyphenols from the natural world.
Interestingly, even when we separate cocoa from beans, a great number of antioxidants are still kept in cocoa. As a result, benefits remain the same. Fat can be found with a great amount in cocoa butter and the majority is saturated. You can relate it to coconut oil.
To be clear, saturated fat makes up for about 57-64 percent. Some typical examples are stearic, palmitic or arachidic acids. It is these saturated fats that are responsible for many cocoa butter benefits.
Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Following are top 9 outstanding benefits of cocoa butter which you may not know.
1. Aging Process
One of the most typical benefits of cocoa butter is its ability to slow down aging process.
In fact, the high volume of antioxidant substances in cocoa butter is valuable source of anti-aging effects. Oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid are telling examples of antioxidant elements in cocoa butter.
Despite their function as fatty acids, they can effectively neutralize free radicals’ activities. In fact, free radicals are deciding factors which trigger the symptoms of aging process.
Moreover, it may support to neutralize oxidative stress – the main cause of wrinkles, age marks, ect. (3)
According to some studies, cocoa butter may have good effects on skin condition. (4)
2. Hair Condition
Another field which benefits of cocoa butter shine is in hair health. The use of this butter for hair is versatile and you can really get lots of good news.
For long, people are familiar with using cocoa butter to provide hair with moisturizer. (5)
This is applied for every type of hair, but the frequency should be dependent on your own type. Besides, pure cocoa butter can be used before you rinse your hair with shampoo. It is a great conditioning treatment you can do at home.
If you are struggling with frizz all the time, then cocoa butter will save you from it. All you need to do is rub raw cocoa butter in the palms and apply on the hair. In case you want your hair to smell good, coconut oil is a great addition.
More than this, cocoa butter can play a part in improving hair strength. (6)
Also, cocoa butter connects with lower chance of dandruff and hair loss.
3. Skin Health
The enormous health benefits of cocoa butter enable it as an powerful booster for skin health.
As mentioned before, cocoa butter contains a valuable source of antioxidants. They can create the last line of defense, which protects the skin from dangerous factors such as bacteria, virus.
In addition, one of the best uses of cocoa butter for skin is to hydrate it. With its original abundance of moisture, this natural butter fulfills this task perfectly.
Even people whose skin is very sensitive can rely on natural cocoa butter as a moisturizing agent. Yet, for the best result, only natural one is allowed. No additives and fragrances should be included in it, like what the beauty industry has done for years.
If you want to deal with peeling skin or dryness, the recommendation is to combine cocoa butter with essential oils, for example, jojoba or castor oil.
Saturated fats have wonderful impacts on the fight against dryness and cracks on our skin. They easily penetrate into the skin and stay there for hours.
In case your skin is extremely sensitive or you are suffering from eczema, pure cocoa butter is the best option. Yet, you still need to test on small skin areas first to check whether you have cocoa butter allergy or not. Do not play with sensitive skin!
Normally, this ingredient is solid and if you do not like its texture, you can use hot water to melt it.
This will help you spread cocoa butter over the skin more easily.
Another benefit of this butter is to lower the inflammatory levels. Inflammation is an manifestation of some health issues which should be addressed as soon as possible.
Abundant with antioxidants and fatty acids, cocoa butter may reduce inflammation effectively. (7)
As a result of cocoa butter intake the annoying symptoms of eczema, skin rashes or psoriasis can be relieved.
5. Chapped Lips
One of the most popular cocoa butter uses is to apply on our lips. It is also a common ingredient in many homemade lip balms.
When you mix it with other essential oils, for example, peppermint, orange or grapefruit oil, you will have wonderful lip palms to hydrate your lips. It can be seen as a secret to have perfect lips that attract everyone at first sight.
Serving as an emollient, it will protect your lips from dryness caused by harsh conditions, such as too cold weather, heat or sun rays.
6. Soothing Effects
Pure cocoa butter has amazing soothing effects which we can take advantage of in many cases.
It enables our skin cells to replenish and recover quickly from a series of problems, such as rashes or burns. With anti-inflammatory and antibacterial nature, this butter even lowers the risk of infections.
However, you should remember to use pure cocoa butter only. Cocoa butter cream might include some additives, fragrances or even alcohol that does not improve the situation.
In fact, these elements may worsen the inflammation of sensitive skin. If you want to add something, then the priority choices are aloe vera and tea tree oil.
7. Heart Health
Fats and saturated fats, in particular, are widely believed to result in many heart-related problems.
However, scientists have reclaimed that it is not true for saturated fats with the origins from plants.
In contrast, they even have positive effects on the prevention against heart diseases. In case of natural butter, polyphenolic compounds are effective to reduce inflammatory markers which probably cause atherosclerosis.
With this ability, it is undeniably that cocoa is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Furthermore, it is proved that cocoa supports lipid metabolism. At the same time, it helps to reduce the possibility of vascular attacks. On the other hand, regarding the content of antioxidants, especially polyphenols, dried cocoa powder surpasses cocoa butter.
Therefore, it is usually suggested that you take dark cocoa products for a higher proportion of antioxidants. Chocolate is another example which provides you with the most significant phenolic content.
According to many reliable studies, there is a close association between antioxidants and immunity enhancement.
In other words, most antioxidant-rich foods can strengthen our immune system, the most important shield to protect our body.
It is definitely one of the best health benefits of raw butter. Antioxidants in general and polyphenols in particular can prevent inflammation, cellular mutations and damage to our DNAs.
All of these are potential threats to many health problems, including cancer and heart diseases.
Advice for you is to mix cocoa butter with refined vegetable oils. This combination will guarantee a stronger immunity, while it is also beneficial for our brain.
9. Stretch Marks
With the amazing benefits of the butter for the face or any skin part, some women raised the question whether it is effective to treat stretch marks.
In fact, it still remains controversial until now. There are mixed results regarding the use of cocoa butter to eliminate stretch marks, especially for pregnant women.
Overall, you would not be threatened if you tried cocoa butter on your stretch marks. This ingredient is known to be safe for even the most sensitive skin.
However, as there is no final conclusion from professional experts or scientists, the results might be satisfactory or not.
How to Buy and Cook
There are plenty of benefits with pure butter; nevertheless, it seems more challenging to have it on the market now.
Normally, products mixed with oils and other ingredients are more popular and economical. Here is a special tip for you to get pure cocoa butter. Its color is normally lighter. Meanwhile, commercial cocoa has the color of deeper yellow.
The life span of cocoa butter is quite long, over 2 years, thanks to its stable nature. More importantly, its saturated fats will not be affected or distorted.
Raw butter can be applied directly on the skin to benefit from it. But in case you want to cook it, there are several recipes that are not only simple, but also very healthy.
Homemade chocolate is one of the most common homemade products from this amazing butter.
Besides, some desserts, such as chocolate mouse, are not bad idea at all!