Chances are that you might be wondering, can I eat cocoa butter? After all, cocoa beans are the things we use to make chocolate, so it would make sense that we could eat cocoa butter too. But, is this assumption valid?
Under many circumstances, we recommend eating cocoa butter. Benefits include brain health, better immunity, and faster healing. Cocoa butter can also promote healthier cholesterol levels, and enhanced mood. Cocoa butter is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, and it’s even ideal for those following a keto diet.
In this article, I’ll discuss why you should/shouldn’t eat cocoa butter, its uses in food and cooking and the many benefits that come with eating cocoa butter.
What Is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is a plant-based oil that comes from the beans of the cocoa plant. Cocoa plants live across West Africa, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. These plants grow large green fruits that contain up to five cocoa beans.
We put the beans through a process of roasting, stripping, and pressing. This extracts the cocoa butter. People have been doing this for over 3,000 years. This is when we estimate they first discovered cocoa butter’s wonderful benefits.
Can You Eat Cocoa Butter?
Yes, you can eat cocoa butter, which can often be very healthy.
When choosing to eat cocoa butter, make sure you select the right kind. Cocoa butter comes both as refined and unrefined. Unrefined oil is safe to eat because it is 100% pure and natural.
But, you should never eat refined cocoa butter. Refined cocoa butter is what is most used in beauty products.
Manufacturers expose refined cocoa butter to high heat and harsh chemicals. This rids cocoa butter of impurities. It loses all color and scent but also loses most of its nutrients. Because of the chemicals it’s exposed to, refined cocoa butter is not suitable for ingestion.
Click here to find out if cocoa butter is good for you.
Can Vegans Eat Cocoa Butter?
Yes, vegans can eat cocoa butter. Cocoa butter comes from the cocoa bean which lives inside the fruit of the cocoa plant. It is a plant-based fat that never comes into contact with any animal products.
When Shouldn’t You Eat Cocoa Butter?
Although cocoa butter is healthy overall, it isn’t the best oil or butter to cook with.
Most of the nutrients in cocoa butter are best for use by the skin. These nutrients don’t do much for the inside of the body.
A few exceptions include vitamins E and K.
Cocoa butter is also calorie-dense, so it’s not the best option if you’re on a diet. There are 120 calories in one tablespoon of cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter is high in saturated and monounsaturated fats. There are 13.6 grams of fat in a single tablespoon of cocoa butter.
You’re supposed to limit your intake of saturated fats. So, cocoa butter may not be the right option for you if you’re watching your fat intake.
To make things easy for you, you should avoid eating cocoa butter if you have one of these conditions:
- Pregnant: may cause digestive problems such as nausea, gas, and stomach aches
- Breastfeeding: large amounts may cause irritation or rashes in your child
- Digestive Problems: may cause constipation or diarrhea
- Sensitive skin: may cause irritation or an allergic reaction
Likewise, here is a list of side effects that may occur due to over-consumption of cocoa butter:
- Bleeding Disorders: may increase your chance of blood clots and bruising
- Heart Conditions: cocoa butter contains fat which can trigger heart problems
- Diarrhea: may occur due to the fat contents
Can You Eat Cocoa Butter Lotion?
Many people use 100% pure unrefined cocoa butter as a moisturizing lotion. This form of cocoa butter is safe to ingest.
Yet, many people use refined cocoa butter as a lotion, and you shouldn’t ingest that. You shouldn’t ingest lotions made with cocoa butter, either. They’re likely to contain ingredients that are not suitable for eating.
Cocoa Butter Uses In Food
Now that we know it’s possible to eat cocoa butter, we’ll want to know how to use cocoa butter in food. Cocoa butter is quite versatile, so you can use it for many things.
Use Cocoa Butter As A Cooking Oil
Cocoa butter is oil-based, so you can use it as a substitute for any number of cooking oils. Although solid at room temperature, you can mix it into recipes and it will melt as you heat the dish.
Or, you can use a double boiler to melt the butter into liquid form before cooking with it.
We use cocoa to make chocolate, so you’re likely familiar with the rounded flavor of cocoa butter. If you’re cooking a savory dish, cocoa butter adds the perfect amount of sweetness. It only takes a small amount to get a large burst of flavor.
Cocoa butter also makes a great option to cook with because it’s 100% vegan.
Use Cocoa Butter As A Substitute For Gelatin
So many dessert recipes call for the use of gelatin. The problem with gelatin is that its made with animal products. Cocoa butter works as a good substitution because it’s vegan-friendly.
Use Cocoa Butter To Create Chocolate
As we’ve mentioned, we use cocoa to create chocolate. Usually, we think of cocoa powder when we imagine baking something chocolatey. But, with a combination of both, you can create mouth-watering chocolate.
You’ll need cocoa butter, cocoa powder, cocoa palm sugar, and raw honey.
Benefits Of Eating Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter isn’t the healthiest butter on the market. But, there are benefits of eating cocoa butter. What are the health benefits of eating cocoa butter?
Cocoa Butter Is Rich In Antioxidants Like Vitamin E
Antioxidants are wonderful for helping the body stay healthy. The antioxidants in cocoa butter fight off free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to your cells.
Cocoa butter is also linked to reducing inflammation. Inflammation can cause significant health problems. Along with a reduction of inflammation comes a boost in immunity. The antioxidants in cocoa butter fight off sickness and support better immunity.
Vitamin E promotes the health of your vision, reproduction, and blood.
Cocoa butter also contains vitamin K which supports bone health.
Copper, manganese, and magnesium all live in cocoa butter. They help regulate your appetite and your iron absorption. They can even lower your blood pressure.
Cocoa Butter Provides Healthier Cholesterol Levels
A recent study found that cocoa butter may not raise cholesterol levels. Instead, they may actually help them.
Researchers studied low-density-lipoprotein-(LDL)-cholesterol concentrations. They saw that they did not rise to dangerous levels.
Also, cocoa butter contains saturated fats called “stearic acids”. These saturated fats convert to monosaturated fats called “oleic acid”.
Oleic acid lowers levels of LDL cholesterol. It also raises HDL cholesterol which is good for your health.
Yet, other studies show raised cholesterol levels in some patients. So, you should speak to your doctor before consuming cocoa butter.
Researchers should perform further studies. This will help us know exactly how cocoa butter affects cholesterol.
Cocoa Butter Reduces The Symptoms Of Liver Disease
Cocoa butter contains high levels of choline. When your body doesn’t get enough choline, it can cause symptoms of liver disease. So, consuming cocoa butter can prevent liver disease and reduce its symptoms.
Cocoa Butter Can Boost Your Mood
Researchers have long known the benefits that cocoa has on the brain. If you’re feeling down, add a bit of cocoa butter to your diet, or even rub it on your skin.
The chocolatey smell of cocoa butter boosts serotonin and dopamine levels. A key part of this ties into the fatty acids in cocoa butter.
The fatty acids support brain health. This boosts your mood to help fight off depression and anxiety. These mood boosters can even help with mood swings associated with PMS.
The fatty acids contained in cocoa butter can also boost hormone production. It helps the body to produce more testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. This can increase your sex drive. It can also reduce symptoms associated with a reduction in these hormones.
Cocoa Butter Is Good For A Keto Diet
The keto diet says you’re supposed to eat healthy fats while limiting your carb and sugar intake. Cocoa butter has a high content of saturated fats but is low in carbs. It contains no sugar makes it perfect for the keto diet.
Still, we don’t recommend eating cocoa butter in large quantities. The high-fat content can cause weight can if eaten in excess.
Cocoa butter is not suitable for everyone’s diet. But, the benefits generally outweigh the cons.
Cocoa butter is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids. It’s known to boost immunity, brain health, and liver health. It’s also shown to lower cholesterol levels, is vegan-friendly, and is good for a keto diet.
There are some people who should avoid cocoa butter. But for the general population, cocoa butter will support your health. It does so while adding a tasty sweetness to your dishes.