Cocoa butter comes with a wide range of benefits but can you eat it? Cocoa butter offers you the flexibility to incorporate this amazing ingredient in not just your desserts but in savoury as well. This makes it a must-have item in your kitchen at all times.
What is cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter is one of the most versatile food items that people use to add to their meals to keep their health and taste buds in check.
As a general rule of thumb, cocoa butter is a type of fat that is extracted from cocoa beans. This process is done by taking out the cocoa beans from the larger cacao plant. Later, this cocoa gets roasted, stripped and pressed to separate the liquid cocoa from the butter (fat) to add versatility.
Be it your favourite chocolate fudge, a creampie, or a substitute for your regular oil, cocoa butter is packed with plenty of nutritious properties to make it your go-to favourite item to add to any food that you decide to cook.
Indeed, unlike the cocoa butter used in skincare, it may not bring the glow on your face but it can certainly be the knight in shining armour for your taste buds.
Historical uses of cocoa
Cocoa beans come from the “Food of Gods” Theobroma cacao tree. The beans, which are technically seeds of the plant, grow inside pods covered with white pulp flesh called Baba. Its history dates back to 3,000 years ago where it was the favourite ingredient of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs.
Unlike the modern uses, it was used as currency to help make up for the debt of others. However, ever since researchers found phytochemicals and their benefits inside cocoa beans, which were once ordinary, it quickly became one of the most traded items worldwide.
However, no one was able to find out how cocoa goes to Spain but many believe that it was brought by Hernán Cortés in 1528. At first, it was served as a drink where chocolate was mixed with sugar and honey to sweeten the bitter taste of raw cocoa.
However, modern chocolate was born when it seduced Europe and appeared in Britain at “chocolate houses”. Although the procedure of chocolate was slow and cumbersome, after the Industrial Revolution it completely changed the way we perceive cocoa.
Uses of Cocoa Butter as Food
Keeping the fundamentals aside, Cocoa Butter can be used for a variety of purposes. Here are some of the uses of cocoa butter as food that you can incorporate into your regular life.
1. As Cooking Oil
Cocoa butter adds the perfect amount of sweetness and savoury to all of your recipes. It can be used as the one missing thing that you need to add to your food to let it melt in your mouth and indulge in a myriad of flavours bursting with each irresistibly scrumptious bite.
If you are a sucker for coconut butter or oil, cocoa butter can be the perfect substitute for vegan and dairy-free recipes. The best part about it is that you don’t need to add it in large quantities to get the flavour.
You can keep up with your healthy routine and sprinkle some cocoa butte over your beef fillet to get the ever needed attractive and tender colour. This ensures to not only keep your taste buds happy but make it effortless to incorporate into your regular diet as well.
2. Substitute of Gelatin
Satisfied with your beef fillet? It’s time you broaden your horizon and try a hand at desserts as well. The crease taste of cocoa butter is an excellent way to decrease the amount of fat gelatin added to your recipes.
This means you can now feel free to add cocoa butter to your cakes without having to stress about indulging in unhealthier sweets.
3. Homemade Chocolate
You can never experiment enough with cocoa butter! It’s never a bad idea to hit the kitchen at 3 am and make someone pamper yourself.
If that’s your plan tonight, you are in luck!
Homemade chocolate will not only help you enjoy the process but ensure you have a baby-like sleep after eating that as well.
To do this, simply combine cocoa butter with cocoa palm sugar, raw honey and cocoa powder. Later, you can either melt it into chocolate syrup or go ahead with chocolate coconut pudding or mousse to add some variety to your dishes.
Health Benefits of Cocoa
Gone are days when your parents used to restrict you from indulging in your favourite piece of chocolate (Yup, that time was the worst).
Thanks to the versatility of this product, you can mix and match with different recipes to help you make it to the top foods that you need to add to your diet today.
Here are some of the health benefits of cocoa that many people fail to realise.
1. Excellent Mood Booster
Whether you are planning to apply it over your body or ingest it, cocoa is known to do wonders for balancing hormones and boosting neurotransmitters.
This is because cocoa butter effectively improves your serotonin and dopamine levels to help women battle off PMS. This makes it a top reason why you crave chocolate at that time of the month.
Not just that, it can also reduce anxiety and give you a sense of serendipity in an instant.
Don’t believe me? Try it yourself!
Inflammation can be the #1 reason why many people struggle with most health problems, the antioxidant is the key properties to drive out free radicals and assist in hormone production.
As if this wasn’t already enough, just like dark chocolate, cocoa is filled with magnesium, manganese and copper to help contour your appetite, iron absorption and lower blood pressure so you only take in the good stuff in your body.
3. Great for Keto Diet
Raw cocoa is the purest form of chocolate. As it hasn’t been touched by heat, all of the healthy fats still carry the health benefits in the most prominent form possible.
This means this cocoa will now be high in caffeine and low in carbs to be your ideal partner in the keto diet. However, it should not be consumed in large quantities to prevent weight gain.
In the long run, you can also use it as a proven way to boost metabolism and aid better digestion of food, thus helping oy with weight loss.
4. Provides Healthy Fatty Acids to Support Brain Health
Fatty acids like saturated fat are one of the most important elements to support brain health and ensure you boost up your mood.
This also translates to serving as the building block for your sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone to maintain a healthy body.
5. Enhances Immunity
As a general rule of thumb, cellular mutations and DNA damage can be the main cause of cardiovascular disease and autoimmune conditions, leading to fatigue.
Here, many studies on cocoa butter suggest that plant polyphenols can help you provide the ever needed antioxidant properties to reduce inflammation and help boost your immune system and fight off external conditions.
Who shouldn’t eat cocoa butter?
Where cocoa is packed with health benefits, there are certain properties that may not be suitable for everyone. So before you dive in headfirst to try out cocoa, make sure you don’t fall into the category of the people mentioned below.
- Pregnant: If you are pregnant, you generally need to be extra careful with everything you put inside your mouth. To take care of your baby and you, try to stay away from large amounts of chocolate as it can trigger digestive problems, nausea, gas and stomach rumbling.
- Breastfeeding: Although this may not always be the case, there are certain conditions where breastfeeding is absolutely safe for breastfeeding mothers. However, if you aren’t consuming it in moderation, it can actually do more harm than good. Therefore, even if you are taking it, make sure you are mindful of the intake. This means only eating 16 oz of chocolate per day and if your child is showing signs of discomfort like irritability or rashes, discontinue immediately.
- Digestive and skin problems: if you are prone to constipation and skin allergies, cocoa butter can trigger this even more and might lead to migraines.
Side Effect of Eating Cocoa Butter
Cocoa is known for increasing blood clotting and bruising however, this only applies if you consume cocoa in large quantities.
Although many people believe that cocoa products lower cholesterol levels, many tests have indicated that cocoa butter can actually increase your cholesterol level.
If you are suffering from heart disease, bear in mind that cocoa contains caffeine, which can trigger irregular heartbeat.
As mentioned earlier, cocoa contains caffeine, which can be the biggest culprit behind worsening your diarrhoea.
We all saw this coming, didn’t we? Cocoa can increase sugar levels which can interfere with your natural blood sugar level and eventually lead to diabetes.
However, just like all the side effects mentioned above, this also occurs if you aren’t mindful about your intake and consume it in large quantities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you eat raw cacao butter?
Raw cacao butter has a pungent cocoa flavour and a fatty thick texture that is completely edible. Although it is edible, you wouldn’t want to eat it raw as it has a bitter dark chocolate taste. However, thanks to the sweet smell and flavour, cacao butter has been widely used for lip glosses and balms to suit your likings.
Does cocoa butter taste good?
In general, cocoa has a stronger smell than taste. Therefore, it is mainly used for ingredients. When it comes to the texture, think of it as coconut oil that tastes like butter mixed with cocoa.
Why is cocoa butter bad for you?
Cocoa butter consists of oleic acids, saturated fat, and palmitic acids that can run the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another thing that it contains is stearic acid which has a neutral effect on your body.
Therefore, everything boils down to the intake of cocoa.
If you manage to keep it under moderation, it won’t do any harm to you, however, once you go overboard with it, that’s when you start to experience the negative effects of this.
All in all, coming to the end of the article, cocoa butter can be an exceptional addition to your regular diet ONLY if you consume it in moderation. For best results, always strive to go for cocoa that is low in sugar and high in cocoa to help you make the most out of its benefits.
The deep blend of flavours coupled with wonderfully smooth texture can be one delightful food that not only offers a delicious experience but boosts your health as well.