Cocoa butter: what it is and where it comes from
Cocoa butter is a fatty substance obtained from the processing of beans produced by the cocoa plant . The cultivation of this plant takes place mainly in South America, therefore the cost of cocoa butter is often high.
Cocoa butter, depending on the processing to which it is subjected, can be used for both food and cosmetic purposes . Cocoa butter for food use can be found in patisseries and specialized food stores, while cocoa butter for cosmetic use can be purchased in herbalist’s shops and pharmacies.
Cocoa butter, to maintain its main characteristics, must be pure and organic : very often, given the high cost, it is mixed with other less pure substances, such as vegetable oils and margarines in the cases of cocoa butter for food use and of paraffins and vegetable fats for cocoa butter for cosmetic use.
We therefore pay attention to the origin and composition of the cocoa butter we buy.
Cocoa butter: properties
Cocoa butter is good to use both internally and externally. The main features are:
> absence of cholesterol : the quantity of fats contained in cocoa butter concerns “good” fats that do not contribute to the formation of bad cholesterol ; moreover , the presence of phytosterols counteracts the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine;
> tonic : the content of saturated fat, B vitamins , vitamin E and some minerals make cocoa butter a very tasty and also healthy ingredient in cooking;
> antioxidant : the polyphenols present in cocoa butter counteract the formation of free radicals, responsible for cellular aging;
> protective for the skin : flavonoids, fatty acids naturally present in cocoa butter and vitamin E, make cocoa butter an effective ally for the beauty of the skin ;
> slimming : cocoa butter contains traces of caffeine and theobromine, two substances capable of accelerating surface lipolysis :
> anti- inflammatory : cocoa butter contains phytosterols, capable of carrying out an anti- inflammatory action at a local level, especially in external use.
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Cocoa butter: uses
Cocoa butter can be used in many ways:
> as a food : taking advantage of its restorative and energizing qualities, as well as the presence of vitamin E, it is possible to make recipes not only tasty, but also healthy;
> as a cosmetic : in natural cosmetics, cocoa butter is an effective treatment for dry and mature skin, as it stimulates the production of collagen , allows to maintain hydration and the optimal hydrolipidic characteristics of the epidermis.
Used in natural cosmetics to be applied to the skin of the face and hair, as well as in body creams, both to streamline and to nourish and repair any damage such as stretch marks and scars, cocoa butter is a valid and natural ally of beauty;
> as an adjuvant in the treatment of eczema , superficial skin lesions, sunburn: cocoa butter is soothing and anti-inflammatory; it can therefore be used, properly diluted, as a support in treatments to combat eczema, superficial skin irritations, burns.
Cocoa butter is solid at room temperature. In the case of cosmetic use it is therefore necessary to heat it in a water bath , avoiding raising the temperature above 38 degrees, to prevent it from going rancid and losing its beneficial properties.
Furthermore, cocoa butter is very fatty , and excessive use or application can have the effect of not allowing the skin to breathe and having effects contrary to what is desired. Therefore, check the quantity indicated in the recipes of natural cosmetics.