What is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter, also known as Theobroma oil is a type of vegetable fat that is extracted from cocoa beans. It is used in various applications, including cosmetics, chocolates, ointments, and some pharmaceuticals, but you may be unaware of what it actually is.
Due to the strong flavor and aroma of cocoa beans, cocoa butter shares a very similar taste and smell. It is edible but is very high in calories, so despite its health benefits, be aware that it can contribute to obesity if consumed in large quantities. According to USDA it is a source of high energy and contains vitamin E, vitamin K, and fatty acids.
One of the most important qualities of cocoa butter is its high stability as compared to other fats. This unique aspect gives it a very impressive shelf life of 2-5 years, which is even further improved by the antioxidants found in cocoa butter, thereby reducing the chances of the oil becoming rancid. You can find it in many forms, but it is still primarily consumed in chocolate. Its stability at room temperature but relatively low melting point also makes it an ideal base oil for suppositories and other medicinal creams.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of this vegetable fat.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||100|
|Choline, total [mg]||0.3|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||1.8|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||24.7|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||59.7|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||32.9|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||3|
|Sources include : USDA|
Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter helps to treat many health issues such as hair loss, skin irritation, and signs of aging. Let’s discuss each benefit in detail.
One of the reasons that cocoa butter is so valuable is its high concentration of antioxidant compounds, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Although these are technically fatty acids, they are beneficial for the body and help to neutralize free radicals throughout the body, particularly in the skin. By reducing the occurrence of oxidative stress, it can help reduce the signs of aging, including wrinkles and age marks.
Research has also shown cocoa butter to reduce the appearance of scars on the skin and help to boost overall skin health.
Apart from its delicious aroma, cocoa butter can also help to moisturize your hair, helping to improve its general appearance and strength.
Cocoa butter has also been linked to a lower incidence of dandruff and healthier hair follicle beds, thereby reducing hair loss and preventing the onset of male pattern baldness.
The antioxidant qualities of cocoa butter certainly take care of most signs of aging, but it also protects the skin from outside agents as well. The antioxidants and beneficial organic molecules protect the skin from environmental, internal, and external forces that can cause irritation or damage to the skin.
The rich blend of fatty acids and antioxidants in cocoa butter makes it an ideal choice for people who want to reduce inflammation of the skin. Whether you apply it to psoriasis, eczema, rashes, or other types of inflammation on the body, you can find quick, soothing relief, combined with a delicious aroma. This can also be achieved through the consumption of cocoa butter in the form of chocolate, which is how most people choose to access these health benefits.
Despite the negative impact that excess fat can have on the cardiovascular system, early research is showing an improvement in inflammatory conditions in the heart when treated with moderate amounts of cocoa butter.
Word of Caution: As mentioned earlier, even though cocoa butter has many benefits, it is still high in fat and calories. So exercise caution while consuming it if you are suffering from obesity or trying to reduce your caloric intake. Other vegetable oils and fats can also give these health benefits without the danger of gaining excess weight.