The Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter (Evidence Based)

The Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter, also known as theobroma oil, is that delicious ingredient you see in chocolate and cosmetic products alike. It is a type of vegetable fat that comes from cocoa beans and it has a wide range of health benefits for your skin, lips, hair and even for your heart.

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is the edible fat that is naturally present in cocoa beans. It is quite solid, with a creamy pale-yellow color. It’s extracted either directly from the beans, or from its by-product, chocolate (cocoa) liquor.

Cocoa butter comes from cocoa beans, which are found in the cocoa fruit. First cocoa beans are cleaned, roasted, stripped and milled into cocoa liquor. The liquor is pressed at a high pressure to separate the fat, and that fat, is cocoa butter. The remaining material is cocoa powder.

Although it is edible, cocoa butter is very high in calories, so despite its health benefits, you need to be aware that it can cause you to gain weight if consumed in large quantities.

Cocoa butter is also high in antioxidants that make it a popular ingredient in skin care products. With a shelf life of 2-5 years, cocoa butter is a unique ingredient with many health benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of cocoa butter.

The Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter promotes skin health

Cocoa butter makes an excellent skin moisturizer and it does more than just hydrate the skin. It melts around body temperature so it’s a good skin moisturizer, and since it’s also edible, it’s not dangerous to use as a lip balm as well.

Cocoa butter contains a high antioxidant level that protects skin from damage and reduces inflammation.  A 2008 study showed that cocoa butter contains natural compounds (polyphenols) that can increases skin thickness as well as collagen density and can also improve skin elasticity.1

To use cocoa butter on your skin to treat or prevent dryness and peeling, try mixing it with other beneficial products like essential oils, castor oil or jojoba oil.

If you have extra sensitive dry skin, perform a patch test first to make sure you don’t have a sensitivity and wind up developing any negative reactions.

DIY Cocoa Butter Lotion

You can make your very own cocoa butter lotion using only three ingredients with this recipe:

Using a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil over medium heat until they are liquefied . Blend in the sweet almond oil and combine thoroughly. Set the mixture in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes until it hardens. When the mixture is solid but not too hard, take it out of the freezer and whisk using a hand mixer until it becomes white and fluffy. Scoop the mixture into a glass jar container and apply to skin!

Cocoa butter for scars – Cocoa butter is one of the best natural remedies for scars. It promotes the healing process and soothes, hydrates, and softens scar tissue.

Cocoa butter for stretch marks – Cocoa butter is one of the best natural ingredients to improve stretch marks. It can help the skin to renew its cells and give it a smooth feeling if you use it several times a day. In fact, regular use of cocoa butter may also prevent the formation of new stretch marks.

Cocoa butter for minor burns – You can use cocoa butter as an after burn treatment to moisturize the skin, renew its flexibility and thus reducing the potential for scarring.

Here is a recipe of an after burn skin salve

5 tablespoons jojoba oil
1 tablespoon beeswax
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
1 tablespoon Shea butter

Using a double boiler, combine all the ingredients and warm over a low heat until the solids are just melted.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Stir a few times to mix the blend. Pour into container and leave the salve to harden overnight at room temperature.

Apply a small quantity of salve to the affected area and its surrounding and massage it gently. Store at a dark cool place and use within 1 year.

For more ideas, read my article about effective homemade minor burn treatments.

Cocoa butter for dry and chapped lips

Cocoa butter is one of my best natural remedies for dry or chapped lips, and it’s also one of the ingredients in my recipe for a natural lip balm.

Because cocoa butter is an emollient, it protects your lips by securing a layer of hydration to the top base. Keeping your lips hydrated with cocoa butter may also help treat mouth sores from forming on the inside of lips.

To make your own natural cocoa butter lip balm melt 2 tablespoons each of cocoa butter and coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of beeswax over a double boiler on low heat and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a small glass container and let it cool. The consistency will be medium firm. If you prefer a firmer consistency, you can add more beeswax, and vice versa.

Here is another recipe that you can try:

DIY Cocoa Butter Lip Balm

Many lip balms that have cocoa butter as a top ingredient are available. Or you can make your own using this recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons pure cocoa butter
  • One tablespoon raw honey
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil
  • 1 capsule of pure vitamin E
  • 4 tablespoons of beeswax
  • 5 to 8 drops of pure vanilla extract

Using a double boiler, melt the beeswax while stirring often. After the beeswax has melted, add in the cocoa butter and almond oil.

Slowly heat the mixture until the cocoa butter melts while stirring often.

Lastly, stir in the honey, vanilla and the contents of the vitamin E capsule. Remove the mixture from heat and pour into containers. Let the lip balm cool completely before using.

Cocoa butter for mouth sores

Mouth sores are like little cuts or ulcers in the mouth. The sores may be very red, or may have small white patches in the middle. They may bleed or become infected. Cocoa butter is recommended as a natural treatment for mouth sores – use it a few times daily to keep your mouth moist.

Cocoa butter calms frizzy, dry Hair

Don’t keep the moisturizing benefits of cocoa butter just to your skin. Cocoa butter provides antioxidants and moisturizing properties to help restore hair health without weighing it down. You can also use cocoa butter to help calm down frizzy hair or as a hot-oil treatment.

To use it on your hair, melt a small amount of coconut butter until it becomes liquefied. Apply the mixture on your hair before you use shampoo or conditioner. Do not leave the mixture in for longer than 20 minutes as it will harden and become hard to wash out. Follow up with your normal hair shampoo and conditioner.

You can also mix the cocoa butter with coconut oil (it has amazing benefits for your hair). Also consider adding other natural oils that are beneficial for your hair.

Cocoa butter and chronic fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition with high morbidity and an associated reduced quality of life.

The main symptom of CFS is extreme tiredness that makes people unable to perform even simple, everyday tasks.

Various therapies including antidepressants, cognitive behavior therapy and graded exercise therapy have been tried in CFS with varying effects. I’ve also mentioned that D-Ribose is one of the most promising natural remedies for CFS.

According to a 2010 study published in the Nutrition Journal, consumption of cocoa liquor (containing cocoa solids as well as cocoa butter) improved fatigue and residual function in people with CFS.2

May improve heart health

Cardiovascular disease (also called heart disease) is a class of diseases that involve the heart, the blood vessels or both, and is the leading cause of deaths worldwide.

The cardiovascular epidemic is rapidly advancing in the world. It has been projected that by 2030 nearly 23.6 million people will die from cardiovascular disorders. However, the majority of these deaths caused by cardiovascular disease are preventable and I’ve already mentioned that 80% of heart attacks can be prevents by doing 5 simple things.

As if we needed another reason to eat this delicious treat, cocoa butter may also protect against cardiovascular disease.

According to a 2014 study, cocoa butter contains polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to prevent hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis.3

It’s important to note, that while cocoa butter does contain some polyphenols and other antioxidants, it doesn’t supply as much benefits to the heart as dried cocoa powder does. You may want to include cocoa powder (as well) in your diet as it has a wide range of health benefits.

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