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Natural Healing Tips: Cocoa Butter 101
Cocoa Butter is a natural moisturizer that melts at room temperature, ideal for skin. It’s health benefits come from its cocoa mass polyphenol.
A topical application
Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil or theobroma cacao, is a pale-yellow, pure, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. To obtain cocoa butter, cocoa beans are fermented, roasted, and then separated from their hulls. About 54% – 58% of the residue is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is usually deodorized to remove its strong and undesirable taste. Cocoa butter is used to make chocolate, biscuits, and baked goods. It is also used in manufacturing some pharmaceuticals, ointments, and toiletries. Cocoa butter adds flavor, scent, and smoothness to these products. It has a mild chocolate flavor and aroma.
The main active reagents of cocoa butter are oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids and they are found in about equal amounts. Oleic acid, also found in olive oil, is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Stearic and palmitic acids are saturated fats. Saturated fats are generally considered responsible for increasing cholesterol levels. However, according to several studies, stearic acid, a long-chain fatty acid, does not appear to raise cholesterol. While palmitic acid does, it only makes up a third of cocoa butter’s calories. If you are going to ingest cocoa butter, it is better to consume it in the form of high-quality dark chocolate, which has lower sugar. Scientists have linked the cocoa (in dark chocolate and cocoa butter) to a reduction of blood pressure and heart disease.
- Stretch marks: Cocoa butter is widely used as a treatment for pregnancy stretch marks. With its A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, vitamins, it is excellent moisturizer for skin health.
- Heart health: A 2006 study in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation: Heart Failure,” reported that middle-aged and elderly women who regularly ate a small amount of chocolate had a 32 percent lower risk of heart failure. Although scientists are not sure why, it could be from its oleic acid or its cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), which may protect against heart disease.
- Immune system health: Preliminary research indicates that CMP (cocoa mass polyphenol) actually helps suppress excessive T-cell activity in the immune system, which could lead to possible treatment in immune system conditions such as psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Skin health: Cocoa butter has often been recommended for treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Cocoa butter, when applied topically, creates a barrier between sensitive skin and the environment and helps retain needed moisture. In addition, cocoa butter contains cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), a substance that inhibits the production of the immuno globulin IgE. IgE is known to aggravate symptoms of both dermatitis and eczema.
- May help prevent cancer: Cocoa butter, like chocolate, contains a lot of CMP. It has been reported that CMP inhibits the growth of cancerous cells and tumors by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and the production of inflammatory cells.
- Weight gain: In one tablespoon of cocoa butter oil, there are 120 calories. There are roughly 14 g of total fat, more than half of which come from saturated fat. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, it is recommended that you have 65 grams fat daily, so cocoa butter gives you 16 % of your RDA of daily fat.
- Allergies: Cocoa butter is a common ingredient in skin care products. It is beneficial to many of its users, but it can cause allergies, such as skin rashes, especially those allergic to nuts. This rash may be red, dry with little bumps. In severe cases, blistering can occur and it can feel like a burn.
- Other side effects: Possibility of indigestion, colic in sensitive infants, and chest pain for those with heart problems, breathing difficulties, insomnia (because of the caffeine) and others.
The health benefits of cocoa butter are from its cocoa mass polyphenol and its oleic acid, which are good to boost the immune system, skin health and may help prevent cancer. Cocoa butter has high levels of fat, so it’s best to do it in moderation. Dark chocolate contains less milk and sugar than light, and is better for heart health and possible weight gain.
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