Cocoa butter is a pale-yellow, pure vegetable fat that comes from cocoa beans. Cocoa butter is one of the key ingredients in making quality chocolate because it provides a strong, rich flavor and smooth texture. It's also used because it melts at body temperature and it doesn't need to be heated in order for it to melt.
It was previously thought that cocoa butter had no medical uses but now it is being used for skincare products because it tends to heal and nourish the skin while providing a soothing effect.
This article will explore how to use cocoa butter in your everyday life.
What is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is a natural fat that can be found in the cocoa bean. Cocoa butter is the pale yellow fat extracted from cocoa beans.
Cocoa beans grow on trees within 25 degrees latitude of the equator, mainly in West Africa and Brazil.
Cocoa butter has been known for thousands of years: Ancient Aztecs recognized its importance when they started using cocoa beans as currency and Aztec ruler Montezuma believed consuming large amounts of chocolate before visiting his harem would give him the energy.
The early Mayans developed sophisticated cultivation methods, fermenting and roasting the beans. The Spanish conquistadores who arrived in South America in the 16th century recorded its use as currency and medicine; today cocoa butter is still used for medicinal purposes, but only recently has it gained recognition for cosmetic uses.
Basic Information on Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is an edible substance that comes from the cocoa ( Theobroma cacao) plant seeds. It's also called "Food Butter" because it's edible and used in the food industry.
The primary components of cocoa butter are oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, and unsaturated fatty acids.
Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter, also known as Theobroma oil, is an edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It is used in chocolate making and other foods to give a creamy texture.
It consists of several ingredients such as fatty acids and triglycerides which offer health benefits such as,
Protects skin from losing moisture:
Cocoa butter contains stearic acid which helps the skin water because it restricts the amount of water that passes through the layers of skin as well as enhance its hydration.
Cocoa butter has various antioxidants and phytosterols which help reduce the effects of aging including wrinkles and fine lines.
Moreover, stearic acid prevents wrinkles formation by ensuring firmness and tension in the connective tissues between the cells which provides elasticity to uphold the integrity and structure of our skin.
Prevents signs of UV radiation:
Cocoa butter contains antioxidant compounds that protect cell membranes against free radicals. Thus it helps prevent damage caused by UV radiation or any other environmental factors on our skin cells.
Helps reducing inflammation & pain:
Studies have shown that Theobroma oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on arthritis and rheumatism, which is due to the inhibition of COX enzymes. Furthermore, it reduces pain caused by histamine release that occurs during an allergic reaction.
Prevents bacterial growth:
Cocoa butter consists of antimicrobial components such as stearic acid and cinnamic alcohol that help reduce bacteria's ability to grow and multiply.
Thus, cocoa butter helps prevent damage to cells and tissues in our skin caused by different types of infection.
Maintains strong bones:
One study shows that cocoa butter contains antioxidant vitamins A and D which help strengthen bone mineral density and improve bone metabolism; this prevents osteoporosis.
Moreover, others reveal that Theobroma oil helps prevent rickets by promoting calcium absorption in the body.
Cocoa butter consists of triglycerides which help nourish intestinal cells and maintain their integrity, thus cocoa butter helps prevent diarrhea.
In addition, it contains butyric acid that helps regulate bowel movement to ensure a smooth bowel movement.
Uses of Cocoa Butter
1) Used as an ingredient of chocolate, cocoa butter is an important part of the process by which chocolate is made. Because it melts at body temperature, cocoa butter can be used as a spread.
2) The substance is very elastic and malleable, making it useful in both cosmetic lipsticks and industrial-grade waxes, including those slippery nonstick surfaces on cooking pans.
3) It is often found in lip balm, moisturizers and soap, providing a smooth texture that isn't greasy or waxy.
4) Used as an ingredient in cooking sprays, waxes and polishes to help prevent sticking in pans while retaining moisture.
5) Cocoa butter is also useful when making candles because of its high melting point compared to other fats which makes it burn longer when applied to the wick of a candle.
6) Cocoa butter is also used in soaps, cosmetics and foods because it melts at body temperature. When eaten, cocoa butter's smell is described as pleasant and chocolatey, though people can detect it on the breath if too much is consumed.
Cocoa Butter Recipes & Food Uses
Cocoa butter is used to make chocolate, obviously. It has a mild flavor that enhances the taste of other ingredients without overpowering them.
Cocoa Butter has many uses in cooking and baking including chocolate chips, cookies, brownies, cakes and icings.
It's often melted and added to chocolate cake, breads and brownies - think of it as adding the richness you'd expect from the full-fat version without all of the calories.
You can also use cocoa butter as a spread on toast or crackers, or even blend it into very hot drinks like coffee or tea.
You can make Cocoa Butter Cookies by creaming cocoa butter with either granulated or brown sugar.