If you only know cocoa butter as a popular moisturizer and skin care product promising to combat wrinkles and stretch marks, you don’t know the best of what cacao butter has to offer.
Join Belvie Chocolate to learn about the incredible health benefits associated with cacao butter are quickly turning it into one of the healthiest fats on a low-carb diet like keto.
What exactly is Cacao Butter?
In its original form, raw cacao butter comes from cacao beans which grow on the Theobroma cacao tree. These cocoa beans are the same ones that produce chocolate and cocoa powder.
To make the butter, cacao beans are cold pressed to extract the oil — similar to olives and olive oil. Instead of olive oil, however, you get theobroma oil.
At room temperature, this oil solidifies just like coconut oil. But when it’s applied to your skin, cacao butter melts like a lotion and is quickly absorbed into your pores for instant moisturizing.
But you can also eat cacao butter to reap its many health benefits.
It’s commonly used to make chocolate — it’s the fatty emulsifier that blends cacao nibs, milk solids, and sugar together — and what gives chocolate that melt-in-your-mouth, silky quality.
While cocoa butter does have hints of chocolate flavor, the texture is more like coconut butter and coconut oil combined.
It’s also typically used as a dairy-free substitute for grass-fed butter.
Add it to recipes — including those that are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan — or use it to make healthier chocolate bars and other on-the-go keto treats.
Top Health Benefits Connected to This Superfood
Another similarity cocoa butter shares with olive oil is that it’s packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
Looking at the nutrition facts for just a tablespoon of raw cacao butter, you’ll find the following healthy fats:
14g of total fat:
- 8.1g of saturated fat
- 4.5g of monounsaturated fat
- 0.4g of polyunsaturated fat
There’s also both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in each tablespoon.
These healthy fats don’t come with a side of carbs or hidden sugars, which is why cacao butter is great on a ketogenic diet — it’s essentially a fat bomb all on its own.
On top of that, each tablespoon also provides 27.1mg of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that deliver their own health benefits.
Phytosterols have been shown to decrease harmful LDL cholesterol levels in patients who only consumed just 2g per day, a fraction of what you’ll get in a tablespoon of cacao butter.
And that’s just the beginning of the good stuff.
You’ll also score the following health benefits by adding this plant-based fat to your weekly meal plans:
Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death
In a study involving 470 Dutch men without preexisting cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, daily cocoa intake significantly lowered their chance of premature death and heart disease. It was also found that those who consumed a higher amount of cocoa (2.3g per day compared to 0.36g) also had a 50% less chance of developing heart diseases.
Another study in Sweden found that patients who had chocolate twice a week or more were 66% less likely to die from cardiac arrest compared to people who didn’t have it regularly.
A similar finding surfaced in a study conducted on heart failure and chocolate consumption in elderly and middle-aged women. Over 31,000 women took part in a nine-year-long research about chocolate intake and its health consequences, with consumption rates ranging from zero up to two servings per week.
This study showed that regular chocolate consumers had a lower rate of hospitalizations and deaths connected to heart failure, and improved cardiovascular health.
The results also demonstrated a slight decrease in heart disease risk in patients who consumed three to six servings each week, or at least one serving per day.
Recuded diabetes and stroke risk
In a 2017 study, researchers discovered a 35% decrease in diabetes in men who ate chocolate weekly.
Another scientific investigation, conducted by two Japanese universities and the National Cancer Center of Japan, showed that people with a higher chocolate intake lowered their risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) by a whopping 39%.
Cacao butter is also incredibly rich in oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid, which are vital antioxidants that not only increase healthy longevity but also lower stroke risk.
While reviewing several studies on cocoa, a group of researchers found that the phytonutrients with antioxidative effects (flavonoids) inside this powerful bean lowered inflammatory biomarkers in as little as two to six hours.