We all know that chocolate is often considered a sinful indulgence. But would you believe that source from which chocolate comes from actually has a number of health benefits? Of course, we’re not talking about that highly processed and highly sweetened chocolate bar. Instead, we refer to the cocoa bean, and more specifically cocoa butter. You can find many surprising benefits of cocoa butter, which you might not know about. Here are 10 of those benefits, together with their scientific proof.
10 Benefits of Cocoa Butter
1. Heal Chapped Lips
Used as a natural lip balm, cocoa butter is one of the best things you can use to heal chapped lips. As Livestrong reports, cocoa butter’s fatty acids and antioxidants A, C, and E not only provide healing but also produce a protective barrier to prevent further damage from the elements.
2. Moisturize Dry Skin
Dry skin and eczema can be treated to the use of soaps that contain cocoa butter as a moisturizing agent. Studies in Ghana associated with soap produced from cocoa pod husks, which are mixed with cocoa butter, show that the stearic, palmitic and oleic acids contribute to greater hydration when combined with the potash produced by the cocoa husk.
3. Collagen Production
The production of collagen is an essential element in anti-aging, which can be obtained through the benefits of cocoa butter. Researchers in France concluded that skin tonus and skin elasticity was enhanced through increased collagen production in relation to cocoa butter’s polyphenols.
4. Helps Heal Mouth Sores
Ulcers and sores in the mouth, which often appear together with chemo, radiation, smoking, alcohol consumption, poor dental hygiene, dehydration and various other causes, respond well to cocoa butter. Not only does moisturizing the lips assist in this process, but food grade variations can also heal the sores according to the American Cancer Society.
5. Soothes Burns and Rashes
When it comes to soothing burns and rashes, few remedies show better benefits than cocoa butter. Livestrong also points out that it is the stability of the product and its ability to be absorbed into the skin without a greasy feel that makes it effective at bringing relief.
6. Natural Shaving Cream
Because cocoa butter is effective at soothing burns and rashes, another of its benefits is as a natural shaving cream. Besides preventing nicks, it moisturizes and nourishes skin to prevent razor burn and rashes associated with shaving, according to Dr. Axe.
7. Relief for Chronic Fatigue
Researchers in the UK also indicate the effectiveness of cocoa butter and its polyphenol content as effective at relieving chronic fatigue. Test subjects with severe chronic fatigue showed significant improvement after eight weeks. During these weeks, they consumed cocoa butter that was rich in polyphenols.
8. Fights Cardiovascular Disease
There are also benefits of cocoa butter that are related to improved cardiovascular health through its consumption. Saudi scientists concluded that cocoa’s polyphenols are inflammatory mediators, which help to significantly reduce the dangers of cardiovascular diseases that are caused by inflammation.
9. Treatment for Constipation
Those who suffer from acute or chronic constipation need to know that cocoa butter consumption can also assist in the management of their condition. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that the consumption of cocoa flavonoids was not only well tolerated, but also contributed significant results in the treatment of their test subjects’ condition.
10. Managing Diabetes
Promising news for the management of type 2 diabetes is also related to cocoa butter benefits. Nigerian researchers have established a link between three markers of oxidative stress related to type 2 diabetes, which can be significantly inhibited by cocoa extract polyphenols.
What Is Cocoa Butter?
To get the maximum in health benefits from this potent little bean, you need to know exactly what we are talking about when discussing cocoa butter. Let’s take a closer look at its origin, how they make it, and what compounds have a beneficial effect on your health.
Cocoa Butter Origin and How Do They Make It?
Cocoa beans are the seeds of the cacao plant. People pick the beans, ferment and then roast them. Once they roast the beans, they separate the butter from the rest of the beans. This leaves behind the solids people use for making cocoa powder.
After they separate the butter out, they then press the cocoa butter to release a chocolate liquor. This holds most of its flavor and odor. The chocolate liquor is what makes commercial chocolate that you buy and consume in many forms and varying concentrations of cocoa.
This butter is, essentially, the purest form of chocolate and you can eat it just like you eat chocolate as long as it is pure.
Cocoa Butter’s Beneficial Properties
The cocoa butter contains cocoa’s flavonoids and polyphenols in its fat. It is a stable fat, which means that it does not spoil or become rancid when heated. It is a saturated fat which melts at body temperature but remains solid at room temperature similar to coconut oil. The beneficial properties of cocoa oil come from its combination of five fatty acids:
• stearic acid 24% to 37% of total fat
• palmitic acid 24% to 30% of total fat
• myristic acid, arachidic acid, and lauric acid, which each contribute between 1% and 4% of the total fat content.
It is stearic acid, which contributes to cocoa butter’s cleansing and emulsifying properties. Palmitic acid, on the other hand, contributes to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Equipped with that little bit of background, it’s time to look at some cautions you need to take when using cocoa butter.
A Note of Caution
Pure cocoa butter is safe for consumption or for use on your skin. However, not all products with cocoa butter on the label are safe for consumption. Moreover, the additives that exist in cocoa butter products have anti-estrogenic effects. In turn, they might contribute to hormonal issues in women and adolescents.
We don’t know of drug interactions associated with the use of cocoa butter. However, you should discuss its use and consumption in therapeutic doses or amounts. For this, consult a healthcare professional before using.
Indeed, eating a sweet, rich milk chocolate bar might border on sinful. However, the source of that chocolate can improve your health. Now, you have a better understanding of the benefits of cocoa butter. As such, you can start using the potency of the cocoa bean to improve your overall wellness. Let us know if you have questions or comments to add by including them in the section below.
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