You're probably pretty familiar with cocoa butter like.....really familiar as it's mainly used for chocolate production - this is in fact the biggest use of the cocoa butter in the world. There are manly uses for cocoa butter outside of chocolate due to its high concentration of saturated and healthy fats!
Cocoa butter comes from the cocoa bean of the Theobroma cacao L. plant. Cocoa beans have been cultivated for nearly 3,000 years and were revered by the Aztecs and Mayans before the Columbian Exchange brought them back to the Old World where they became when of the most popular foods on the planet (who doesn't like chocolate)?
To get to the "butter" of the beans, they're fermented first and then roasted. At this point, the butter is separated from the solids which go on to make cocoa powder. The butter is then either left in its raw state and has a bitter taste similar to dark chocolate or it can be refined to remove the cocoa smell and color.
Cocoa butter is completely solid at room temperature and doesnt start to melt until temperatures reach 93-101 degrees which of course making wonderful for chocoloate to melt in your mouth and not in your hands. What's great about solid fats like cocoa butter is that they are able to maintain their nutrient content even after being exposed to heat unlike unsaturated fats such as olive or vegetable oil. Cocoa butter is extremely rich in antioxidants and it's these antioxidants that provide some of the value in other uses. So, what can you use cocoa butter for?
1) Eat it!
Cocoa butter is completely edible as demonstrated by its main use being in the production of chocolate but you can do other things with it. Because it's rich in antioxidants and also boost the immune system, it's super healthy. You could make your own chocolate or puddings with it. You can also use it as a dairy substitute in things like coffee as a creamer (its good, trust me). Cocoa butter also makes a much healthier cooking oil over other oils like vegetable oils that have lost most of their nutrients in the refining process. Of course, it may not be the best choice in every situation, especially if its unrefined cocoa butter due to the flavor but, give it a try and work it into your meals when appropriate.
It's also noteworthy that cocoa butter is considered a heart healthy oil contrary to the old beliefs that saturated fats are bad. The polyphenolic components of cocoa butter have been found to reduce inflammatory markers responsible for atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).
2) Skin health
You knew this one was coming, right? The other major use to cocoa butter in the world is in the skin care industry. If you've bought lotion, you're likely familiar with cocoa butter as an ingredient. Any saturated fat is great for skin health because they absorb into the skin easily and they're rich in antioxidants that keep skin looking healthy. If you prefer a smoother, more lotion like application, you can blend cocoa butter with another oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
3) Lip Balm
Cocoa butter is a common ingredient in many commercial lip balms. You can use it in its pure form for the same purposes. If you want, flavor it with essential oils such as peppermint or vanilla.
Cocoa butter is considered to be an emollient, meaning its adds a protective layer to the skin against cold, dry weather or sun damage.
4) As a shaving cream
Lather yourself up with a little bit of cocoa butter before shaving and experience the smoothe, natural glide of a new shaving cream. Don't worry about it cloggin drains as it won't because it melts in the warm water.
5) In your natural deodorant
Cocoa butter protects the skin against razor burn and rashes so if you shave your pits, you'd benefit from applying a deodorant free from irritating chemicals that will bring on razor burn, instead, use a product that protects the skin against razor burn. Green Theory makes all natural deodorants that feature cocoa butter as a key ingredient in part of our formula. What sets Green Theory natural deodorant apart is it's combination of the odor fighting powers of probiotics and detoxifying ability of bentonite clay. It's fresh pits and peace of mind while getting just a little bit healthier just by wearing deodorant.
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What do you use cocoa butter for? Let us know in the comments section below!