Is Cocoa Butter Healthy? A Comprehensive Guide!

It’s no news that cocoa butter is a healthy fat. And although it comes from the theobroma tree, it is free of animal fat, which makes it healthy for everyone, including vegetarians. 

There are some benefits to your body that cocoa butter may provide, including vitamin E. This vitamin is essential to your vision, reproduction, and the health of your brain, skin, and blood. 

Let’s look at what makes cocoa butter healthy.

Cocoa Butter Refined Organic
Cocoa Butter Refined Organic
Unrefined Cocoa Butter
Unrefined Cocoa Butter

What makes cocoa butter healthy?

There are so many health benefits to cocoa butter. Significant among these are;

i. Source of Vitamin E

Cocoa butter is a decent source of vitamin E, which benefits your body in many ways. Vitamin E supports vision, reproduction, and the health of your brain, skin, and blood. 

il. A Source of Vitamin D

Cocoa butter is a rich source of vitamin D. Vitamin D boosts calcium absorption in the gut, and it also helps maintain bone health, immunity, and cardiovascular health. The deficiency of vitamin D in the human body is a global public health concern that is being addressed by regular consumption of vitamin D-containing foods.

ill. Source of vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for the body to build and maintain bones. Cocoa butter contains a small amount of vitamin K that may help boost bone health.

iV. Moisturise your skin

The high fatty acid content of cocoa butter makes it a natural ingredient in skin creams. Adding fatty acids to the skin helps it to stay hydrated. As a result of the fat in cocoa butter, your skin is protected from drying out by a protective barrier.

V. Help reduce wrinkles

Cocoa butter is rich in antioxidants. Unlike other oils, cocoa butter is packed with antioxidants such as oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid which can scavenge and neutralize free radicals. The use of cocoa butter in skincare would help to diminish fine lines and age spots.

vi. A Source of skin healing properties

In topical treatments such as eczema and dermatitis, cocoa butter is a primary ingredient. Cocoa butter’s rich moisture content and oil-based protective properties ease itching and promote healing. 

vii. Protect Against Sun Damage

UV radiation can alter skin texture, damage skin cells, and possibly increase the risk of skin cancer. According to research, the phytochemicals in cocoa butter protect the skin from UV radiation damage and reduce the incidence of skin illness.

viii. Protect your hair

Cocoa butter enhances the texture and strength of the hair by providing it with the necessary moisturization. It can also impart a fragrance to the hair.

iX. Healthier Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol is a risk factor for diseases such as heart disease. Pure cocoa butter may aid in the management of this risk factor and lower your risk of having a heart attack. Unrefined cocoa butter includes stearic acid, which your liver can convert to oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. Oleic acid lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol while increasing good (HDL) cholesterol.

X. Reduced Liver Disease Symptoms

Some forms of liver disease are caused by a choline deficiency. Cocoa butter contains choline, so consuming it can help reduce the risk or manage symptoms of liver disease, or manage them.

Also Read: Top Cocoa Butter Benefits For Skin And Hair: A Comprehensive Guide!

What are the nutrients in cocoa butter?

Cocoa butter contains a significant percentage of vitamin D2, which is a precursor to the active form of vitamin D in the body. It’s also high in minerals like potassium, phosphorus, iron, copper, and magnesium, but low in polyphenols, which promote health.

a. Polyphenol

Polyphenols are antioxidants that promote health and are present in plants such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, tea, chocolate, and coffee. Cocoa’s polyphenol concentration is heart-healthy.

Cocoa beans have the highest flavonoid concentration per weight of any food and are one of the richest sources of polyphenols in the human diet, suggesting that they may enhance heart health.

Pure cocoa beans are indigestible due to their high polyphenol content. Due to its strong sourness and bitterness, it is nearly inedible. However, the polyphenol content of cocoa beans may differ significantly from that of finished, processed, palatable goods like cocoa butter.

In reality, the non-fat components of the refined bean — cocoa powder — contain the most polyphenols, with 72-87%, whereas the high-fat regions, such as cocoa butter, can have as low as 5%.

That means that cocoa butter itself is not a good source of polyphenols.

Cocoa powder must be added to a chocolate product containing cocoa butter to increase the polyphenol content. The more cocoa powder you consume, the higher the polyphenol concentration and potential health advantages.

B. Fatty acids

Cocoa butter consists of a combination of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.

Cocoa butter contains approximately 60% saturated fat—which is palmitic, stearic, lauric, and myristic acids, 35% monounsaturated fat- oleic acid, and 1% polyunsaturated fat- linoleic acid.

The fatty acid composition produces three forms of triglyceride fats in cocoa butter, which contribute considerably to the properties of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter’s unique qualities are in high demand when compared to typical vegetable oils, resulting in a global shortage, high manufacturing costs, and a pricey end product.

Also Read: What Is Cocoa Butter Good For? 15 Things I Wish I Knew!

What are the other nutrients in cocoa butter?

Cocoa butter is high in vitamin D2, a precursor to the active form of vitamin D in the body. Cocoa butter is also rich in these minerals:

  • Potassium, which helps lower blood pressure
  • Phosphorus, which supports bone health
  • Copper, which supports brain health
  • Iron, which supports red blood cell activity
  • Zinc, which supports immune health
  • Magnesium, which supports muscle and nerve health

What is cocoa butter?

Cocoa butter comes from a cocoa plant called Theobroma cacao, a native of central and south America and cultivated in parts of west Africa. Cocoa butter is used in making chocolate and cosmetic products.

The cocoa butter in its raw state is extracted from cocoa beans and has a strong chocolate scent, although refined cocoa butter has a minimal aroma.

Unlike other kinds of butter, it is mostly solid at room temperature but melts at 35-37 degrees Celsius. Cocoa butter is mostly used as a skin moisturiser globally, yet its health benefits are influencing its use in the kitchen as well as in the food processing industries.  

Cocoa butter serves as a moisturizer for dry hair, working on African strands to make them easy to comb. As an expensive commodity, cocoa butter has a shelf life of two to five years.

Also Read: What is Cocoa Butter: Benefits, Uses, Characteristics and Side Effects

What are the types of cocoa butter?

Cocoa butter is classified into two types, refined and unrefined. But two other types fall within the two major types. Let’s discuss each separately.

1. Refined

To remove natural odours, refined cacao butter has been chemically or physically treated. The most common way is to infuse high-heat steam into the butter. As a result, the flavour is neutral and the colour is light.

Because it does not have a pronounced cocoa aroma, refined cocoa butter is often used in cosmetics. When chocolate manufacturers don’t want a strong cocoa flavour and scent to interfere with the other flavours they’ve employed, they add refined cocoa butter to the recipes.

The con of refining it is that the process depletes it of its highly useful natural minerals and antioxidants. The great majority of white chocolate sold in stores is made with refined cocoa butter. Because the scents have been removed, the producers add vanilla and a lot of sugar.

This is why white chocolate gets a negative reputation for being too sweet.

2. Unrefined

Unrefined cocoa butter is pure and natural. Unlike refined cocoa butter, it preserves all of the essential antioxidants found in cacao, making it the better choice.

The disadvantage of utilising pure or unprocessed cocoa butter is that its strong flavour may interfere with other flavours. For example, if you make body butter from Ghanaian cacao butter and add an essential oil like lavender, the powerful flavours of the Ghanaian cacao butter may drown out the subtle flavour notes of the essential oil.

Also Read: What Does Cocoa Butter Smell Like? All you Need to Know!

3. Ultra-refined cocoa butter

Ultra-refined, also known to be deodorized, seems to have properties in-between raw and refined cocoa butter. 

Ultra-refined cocoa butter has a whitish bright colour, making it lose its chocolate smell but still maintains most of the ingredients found in raw cocoa butter.

Ultra-refined cocoa butter is stable and emollient, and can be added to products that do not need the chocolate smell; blending well with floral scented cosmetics.

As an ideal ointment base, it improves skin elasticity, prevents dehydration, and restores skin to

its health during peeling. It is also a superlative ingredient in natural lotions, creams, lip balms, bar soaps, hair conditioners, and body butter.

4. Organic Cocoa Butter

This type of cocoa butter is best used in organic cosmetics and shampoos. It is known to be

processed and refined to produce a whitish, odourless butter used as a skin moisturizer. Organic cocoa butter is solid at room temperature but melts readily on contact with the skin.

Also Read: 5 Best Organic Cocoa Butter: Pure and Unadulterated!

How to Use Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter has a slight chocolate flavour and scent. You can use cocoa butter to make your chocolate, to prevent the chocolate from melting until it touches your mouth.

Since cocoa butter is an edible oil when melted, you can also use it in recipes that call for oil. Cocoa butter has a high smoke point, so it won’t burn easily at high temperatures. Given its chocolaty flavour, the oil is usually a better fit for sweet recipes.

You can use cocoa butter to make chocolate chip cookie recipes, create edible lip balms and skin creams, and use it in vegan dessert recipes. 

When you substitute other oils with cocoa butter, it’s best to substitute only a portion of the oil. Cocoa butter will firm up the recipe a bit when you cook it. 

Moreover, you can make your body butter with cocoa butter. It’s best to use pure or unrefined cocoa butter as it contains all the nutrients it comes with. You can also use cocoa butter as a scalp treatment for treating damaged hair or to prevent breakage and make hair soft.

What should I watch out for when using cocoa butter?

Cocoa, like all oils, is high in calories. Use cocoa butter sparingly, especially if you’re trying to cut back on calories. 

Also Read: Cacao Butter vs Cocoa Butter: What the Difference and Uses?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does cacao butter raise cholesterol?

In a recent experiment, cocoa butter did not raise LDL cholesterol as much as predicted by its total saturated fatty acid content. However, because of its significant palmitic acid content, cocoa butter did raise LDL-cholesterol concentrations more than most liquid vegetable oils.

Does cocoa butter help hair growth?

Cocoa butter provides nourishment to the hair due to the presence of various kinds of fatty acids in it. It clears the scalp and allows hair to grow faster. It is very easy to apply and should be applied for 15 to 20 minutes, just before taking a shower.

Is cacao butter the same as cocoa butter?

Cacao butter, also known as cocoa butter, is a type of fat that comes from cacao beans. To harness cacao butter, the beans are harvested from the cacao pods, and then cleaned and roasted. Next, the beans are stripped from their shells and crushed into nibs, which are then ground into a liquid known as cocoa liquor.

What is cocoa butter made out of?

Cocoa butter is a plant-based fat taken from the cocoa bean. It’s extracted from roasted cacao beans. In general, cocoa butter is a rich moisturizing cream. Pure cocoa butter may be packaged on its own or processed with other ingredients and sold as a body cream.

Why shouldn’t you use cocoa butter on your face?

However, cocoa butter is known to clog pores. So use caution before applying cocoa butter to your face. If you’re prone to acne and breakouts, you may not want to use any products that list cocoa butter as one of the first seven ingredients in a product.

Now it’s your turn…

Cocoa butter has a good amount of vitamin E, which is beneficial to your body in a variety of ways. Vitamin E helps with eyesight, reproduction, and brain, skin, and blood health. Also, cocoa butter contains a high concentration of fatty acids, making it an excellent choice as a key ingredient in skin cream.

Hence, cocoa butter is healthy for you, including vegans.

You can use cocoa butter to make delicious, healthy recipes, body butter, and hair food. Remember to use it in moderation if you’re trying to cut down on your calorie intake. 

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From chocolate craving to winter hot cocoa drinks indulgence - I've being through it all. In as much as I'm always learning about the awesomeness of cacao/cocoa beans, there's one thing I know for sure. Quality cocoa product always comes tops. The devil is in the details. That's why you should listen to me. I've done the research. I've made all the mistakes in the books. Yes, I'm just like you but I know a thing or two that can help you make a better choice.