Do you know what makes your favorite chocolate melt in your mouth and is responsible for its silky smooth feel? It is cocoa butter, something you have heard of as an ingredient in ointments, cosmetics or pharmaceuticals. Cocoa butter, also named as ‘theobroma oil’ is an edible, yellow fat extracted from cocoa beans (1). These beans are fermented, roasted and then, taken out of the pods that grow on trees. It is considered as one of the most stable fats known for its velvety texture, emollient properties, and pleasant smell. It is a great antioxidant source and is well known for doing wonders on the skin (2). Besides its influential effects on skin, it also offers great assistance to cure many health issues. Here, we have accumulated some of the important health and beauty benefits of cocoa butter that you should be aware of.
Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter
1. Reduces Inflammation
Cocoa Butter is a wonderful remedy to treat various skin problems, such as rashes, eczema, psoriasis, etc. Its antioxidant property and presence of fatty acids in it provides relief against the inflammation of the skin (3). You should use cocoa butter on a regular basis to use its benefits against inflammation. Easiest way to use it is in the form of chocolate, but it may have some side effects due to the presence of excessive fat in it. It is considered as a healthy and natural way to reduce inflammation of the heart.
2. Improves Heart Health
One of the potent cocoa butter benefits is its positive impact on the heart. Saturated fats are considered unhealthy for the heart, but when these fats are derived from a plant source, it proves to be quite helpful to combat the cardiovascular diseases.
To get the highest phenolic content and a healthy heart, you should opt for the dark chocolate because it contains more cocoa powder and less amount of sugar as compared to milk chocolate (4). Also, it is composed of the highest amounts of flavonols, antioxidants, and polyphenols.
3. Regulates Immune System
Cocoa is a food rich in polyphenols and due to this, it acts as an influential antioxidant. Its consumption has been reported to be quite effective in keeping the immune system healthy (5). It happens because cocoa butter restrains the T-cell activity that occurs in the immune system. Thus, to make your system stronger and to keep infections at bay, you should incorporate cocoa butter in your diet.
4. Heals Mood Disorders
Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter found in blood platelets, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system. Lower levels of serotonin may lead to many problems such as depression, sleeping disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, reduced motivation, aggressive behavior, etc.
In order to maintain it in your body, a natural amino acid, tryptophan is required. Cocoa has the ability to restrict tryptophan’s breakdown, and its regular consumption can encourage it to produce more serotonin (6).
Cocoa butter being a cocoa extract shows anti-depressant properties and helps boost mood, aids improve cognitive activities and combats depression. So, the next time you feel low, grab a bar of chocolate.
5. Protects from Cancer
Cocoa butter has a lot of cocoa mass polyphenol that has the ability to combat against cancerous cells and tumors. It reduces the levels of oxygen in the body to eliminate the symptoms of cancer. Also, it contains flavonols and procyanidins that show chemopreventive and anti-proliferative effects. These healing properties of cocoa butter prove out to be quite advantageous for the treatment of various kinds of cancer such as prostate and colon cancer (7).
6. Prevents Constipation
Cocoa butter sounds like a dairy product, but it is considered as a good fat source alike coconut oil, olive oil, egg yolks, etc. (8). It helps the release of bile, a natural laxative for proper digestion in the digestive tract. You can add cocoa butter to your meals in a limited amount to get rid of constipation.
7. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Cocoa butter contains high quantity of cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP) that lowers the T cell activity of immunity system and helps treat the problems related to an overactive system, such as psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Thus, chocolates with high polyphenols may deduct the chances of chronic fatigue syndrome (9).
8. Treats Neurodegenerative Diseases
Cocoa is full of flavonols and phytochemicals, such as catechin and epicatechin that are very effective to cure neurodegenerative problems like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In addition to flavonols, cocoa and its extracts also comprises methylxanthines. They regulate the perfusion of the brain and/or enhance cerebral oxygen consumption, which results in higher neuronal activity (10). Thus, cocoa butter lowers the oxidative stress on the mind, aids in protecting neuronal cell damage, and protects the cellular membrane.
9. Makes You Happier
Do you know the reason why you feel so happy after eating a bar of chocolate? Cocoa butter is actually responsible for it. It enhances the levels of endorphin and serotonin in the brain, which in turn, makes you happy (11). Chocolate with cocoa butter as an ingredient is filled with magnesium and prevents the lower levels of progesterone, which results in moods swings, especially during premenstrual syndrome (12). In addition to this, cocoa also comprises phenylethylamine that stimulates mental alertness and augments the strength of your body.
10. Treats Mouth Sores
Cocoa butter is an ultimate natural remedy to get rid of mouth sores. They are basically the cuts and ulcers in the mouth with red or white patches at their centers. These sores may become infected and even bleed sometimes.
You can apply cocoa butter on these painful blisters to get immediate relief and to keep your mouth moisturized. Clinicians suggest using lipsticks with cocoa butter as an ingredient instead of petroleum products (13).
11. Soothes Rashes, Burns, and Scars
Cocoa butter pacifies rashes, burns, and scars on the skin (14,15,16). Apply it on the affected area to replenish your skin. But, make sure that you should apply it in the pure form, free of certain additives such as alcohol, fragrances or perfumes. Its impure form may lead to adverse effects on the sensitive skin.
Beauty Benefits of Cocoa Butter
12. Soft and Plump Lips
Your soft and delicate lips become rough and cracked due to the effects of very cold weather, heat, or sun damage. They need extra care to protect against harsh weather. Besides many benefits of cocoa butter for skin, it is also an effective natural remedy for soft and shiny lips.
To keep your lips always smooth and healthy, you can use good quality of cocoa butter, regularly (17). You can either choose a ready-made skin care product with cocoa butter as an ingredient or prepare a lip balm of your favorite flavor using it at home.
13. Excellent Skin Moisturizer
If your skin is dry and you always require something to hydrate it, cocoa butter is an excellent option for you. This saturated fat comprises of natural antioxidants and easily absorbs into the skin. It locks the moisture in the skin, remains there for long hours, and doesn’t let it dry (18). It doesn’t put any adverse effects on your skin, as it is free of any additives, dyes, chemicals, fragrances, and colors. Replace your moisturizer with cocoa butter to get smooth, soft, and moisturized skin.
14. Helps Shave Smoothly
Cocoa butter is a fantastic alternative for shaving cream, as it eases the shaving process and leaves a soft and smooth skin after shave (19). This home remedy not only saves the money that you spend over expensive shaving soaps but also nourishes your skin with vital nutrients of cocoa butter.
15. Acts as Anti-aging Agent
If you are fed up of those fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging on your face, cocoa butter is a great remedy to eliminate them and to get that young look back (20). Cocoa butter includes some essential compounds known as cocoa mass polyphenols. These compounds do wonders with their anti-aging properties and diminish wrinkles, fine lines, and scars. Polyphenols are basically antioxidants that nourish skin, inside out. Besides eliminating the signs of aging, CMPs also augment the tone and elasticity of the skin. Cocoa butter, being free from harmful chemical and ingredients, is quite beneficial for the skin.
16. Moisturized Hair
If your hair is dry, difficult to manage, damaged and rough, cocoa butter is the single solution for all your problems. It makes your hair lustrous, moisturized and adds volume to them.
Apply cocoa butter oil to your hair from roots to ends overnight. There are numerous benefits of cocoa butter for hair, and it also softens them. This is why it is one of the chief ingredients in a hair conditioner (21).
17. Fades Stretch Marks
Striae Gravidarum or stretch marks are something that spoils your beauty. They occur due to pregnancy, very quick weight gain, and some medical conditions, such as Cushing’s or Marfan Syndrome. Many people consider cocoa butter as a highly effective home remedy to diminish stretch marks, but according to some research studies, cocoa butter neither controls the development of striae gravidarum nor lightens their appearances (22). Still, you can try a combination of cocoa and shea butter as this mixture is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E and is known to repair and protect the skin.
Try the above remedies and let us know which home remedy worked the best for you.