Cocoa butter – description. Health benefits and harms



Cocoa butter is a natural, natural fat that does not contain any additives. It is made from the seeds of the cocoa beans that grow on the chocolate tree native to South America. A relatively new product in human history quickly gained recognition. Indeed, only at the beginning of the 19th century, after the invention of the press, they learned how to extract it.

And even later, scientists discovered the valuable qualities of natural cocoa butter, which have more than 300 medicinal and beneficial properties. It is not for nothing that the chocolate tree, discovered in the 16th century, is called “food of the gods”. Scientists claim that natural cocoa butter works wonders for the human body.

Knowledge of the properties, composition and methods of application of the product is very interesting and, of course, will be useful in everyday life, because experts strongly recommend using it on a regular basis.

The history of cocoa butter

The discovery of America allowed the Europeans to get acquainted with the mass of previously unknown and completely irreplaceable plants today. One of them was the cocoa tree. The conquistadors who came to the lands of the Aztecs were amazed not only by the abundance of gold in the majestic palaces, but also by the fact that cocoa beans, outlandish for Europeans, were considered money here.

In the granaries of the palace, forty thousand bags of beans were found, for which it was possible to buy slaves or livestock.

Once in Europe, cocoa quickly became fashionable, and slaves on the plantations of South America gathered fruits for the Spanish and French nobility. Plantations have grown not only on the South American continent, but also appeared in Africa.

The Europeans fell in love with the drink of the Indian leaders, they came up with the idea of ​​adding sugar to cocoa, but something confused many cocoa lovers. As soon as the cooks heated the beans filled with water, oil circles floated to the surface.

The amazing vegetable fat retaining a pleasant smell was removed, and after cooling it becomes hard and very similar to soap.

The demand for liquid chocolate grew rapidly, confectioners tried to make hard chocolate, but it was impossible to create industrial production until Konrad van Houten in 1825 decided to use not only heat, but also pressure to separate the oil. The experience was a success, and after three years the inventor patented a hydraulic press.

It turned out that by deciding to put the production of fat-free powder for a drink on stream, van Houten gave the world a much more valuable product – cocoa butter.

The invention was revolutionary, because the hydraulic press made it possible to obtain oil, which soon became much more valuable than the immediately obtained loose powder, which was used for the production of the drink. The addition of 30-40% cocoa butter turned the powder into hard bars – the prototype of modern chocolate.

In the middle of the 19th century in Europe, the production of cocoa butter was in full swing, and in America the trader Girardelli found his own way in 1860. While transporting beans from Peru to the United States, he noticed that the ground beans gave up oil even to the fabric of the canvas bag. The filtration method was also patented, but the van Houten method turned out to be more productive and tenacious.

Thanks to this invention, cocoa and chocolate have long ceased to be a delicacy exclusively for crowned persons, and cocoa butter is used not only in the food industry, but also in medicine and cosmetology.

Two-thirds of the world’s raw materials for it are now produced not on the land of the Indians, but on the territory of African states, for example, in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.

Cocoa butter appearance

Natural cocoa butter is known for its characteristic light yellow, creamy color, milk aroma with a chocolate hint. The usual texture of the product is hard and brittle, melting easily at temperatures above 32 C. The oil completely and quickly melts, in contact with the human body, as well as in the mouth, without leaving a waxy aftertaste.

Cocoa butter – description. Health benefits and harms

It is used in almost all areas of the food and cosmetic industries. Cocoa butter is natural and deodorized. Deodorized oil, unlike natural oil, has no smell, it is produced in a different way. When cleaning, involving the use of chemicals, the product does not lose its useful properties.

Composition and nutritional value of cocoa butter

Cocoa butter is the most valuable and important component of cocoa beans. It is essentially a mixture of fatty acids. Saturated fats make up 57-64%, unsaturated fats 46-33%.

The composition includes:

  • arachidonic acid: protects the body from harmful flora and bacteria;
  • stearic acid: has a strong emollient effect;
  • palmitic and lauric and acids: have moisturizing and healing properties;
  • linoleic acid: nourishes hair and skin;
  • oleic acid: is a powerful antioxidant;
  • amino acids;
  • vitamins A, B, F, C and E;
  • minerals: iron, magnesium, potassium, iodine, zinc, calcium, chromium, etc .;
  • calorie content 900 kcal per 100 g;
  • theobromine substance is a natural antibiotic.
  • The composition of the product is chemically stable, not susceptible to oxidative processes, contributes to the extension of the life of any product, with its use.

Contains phenyltylamine, a substance known as a love drug. Phenyltylamine is identical to the chemical that occurs in a person in love. This is why chocolate has been called the “happiness hormone”. And all this thanks to the cocoa beans and its butter.

Types and varieties

Raw, unrefined cocoa butter has a characteristic “chocolate” aroma. If it is necessary to remove the natural odor, for example, to add a substance to white chocolate, it is subjected to steam treatment in a vacuum environment.
At the same time, deodorized oil does not lose its beneficial properties, and the process itself is called deodorization.

Quality beans contain up to 50% oil. When pressed, the substance is a clear liquid, but it quickly hardens even at room temperature. When finished, the butter is light yellow or creamy and looks like a chocolate-scented soap. You can melt the cocoa butter again by heating to body temperature.

These characteristic features distinguish expensive natural oil from existing substitutes.

Taste qualities

Cocoa butter – description. Health benefits and harms
Natural cocoa butter and cocoa beans

Cocoa butter is a hard vegetable fat with a light beige or yellowish tint. Despite its durability, the oil can deteriorate and oxidize. In this case, its color changes, becoming pale, gray or completely white.

The fermented raw materials used in the production give the butter the characteristic smell of roasted cocoa beans. When melted, the butter melts without leaving an unpleasant greasy aftertaste.

Interestingly, the oil is polymorphic, that is, when solidified, it can form six different crystal forms. This is reflected in the taste characteristics of the product. Confectioners consider crystals of the “beta” type to be optimal.

This kind of chocolate is always delicate, but it retains its shape. The surface of the tiles has a glossy sheen without deposits or grease.

Unfortunately, due to the high price of natural oil, today you can often find its substitutes – vegetable fats that have similar physical properties, but completely differ from it in acid composition.

They significantly reduce the price of confectionery, but there is practically no benefit from such fats, and the taste of the delicacy becomes less refined.

Useful properties of cocoa butter

Cocoa butter – description. Health benefits and harms
  • Supports the work of nerve cells (theobromine substance).
  • Provides full blood circulation.
  • Strengthens the immune system (vitamins A, E, C).
  • Helps to cope with viral diseases.
  • It has expectorant properties.
  • It has the ability to envelop the inflamed tissue and relieve pain.
  • It has a positive effect on the entire body. It has tonic properties. General massage using cocoa butter is useful
  • Heals wounds and burns (even moderate).
  • Reduces cholesterol levels.
  • Stimulates the work of the brain, increases mental activity.
  • Improves the endocrine system.
  • Promotes weight loss by suppressing appetite. It should be used in dosage, because it is high in calories.
  • Treats hemorrhoids and problematic cracks in the anus. Especially useful in case of exacerbation of the disease.
  • Helps with eczema and fungal infections.
  • Eliminates postpartum stretch marks and cracks in the breast during feeding.
  • Strengthens hair, removes split ends.
  • Relieves expression wrinkles. Rejuvenates the skin of the face and body.

Cocoa butter in cosmetology

The use of vegetable oils by cosmetics manufacturers has become an indisputable fact. A large number of studies on the properties of cocoa butter have shown that the product is able to transform our skin (especially dehydrated, dry and flaky) and hair.

Cocoa butter becomes especially useful for the skin in the cold autumn and winter seasons, when dry and frosty air dehydrates it. Cocoa bean butter for the body will effectively moisturize and soften the skin, penetrate deeply into the cells, make the skin firm, smooth, elastic and nourish it with nutrients.

Cocoa butter for face

The product can be used by people with any skin type. For owners of dry skin, experts advise to apply directly to the face (after cleansing), preferably at night.

For combination, normal to oily skin, it is used as a base for moisturizing cream or as a stand-alone product. There is no single and absolutely correct way to use oil.

Cocoa butter – description. Health benefits and harms

But there is a recommendation from cosmetologists: cocoa butter is a rich source of antioxidants and emollients. Use in tandem with moisturizers to increase the moisture balance of the face and optimal hydration.

Dry or combined skin type:

Face scrub: mix two tablespoons of melted butter with a tablespoon of honey, two tablespoons of oatmeal and chopped walnuts. Apply the mixture to a wet face, massage the face for a few minutes, then rinse with water.

Nourishing mask: Mix 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley with melted cocoa butter, apply on face, hold for 30 minutes, then rinse with water.
Aging skin

Mix a tablespoon of grape seed oil, aloe juice (a tablespoon), melted cocoa butter (a teaspoon). Apply on face for 10-15 minutes and then rinse with contrasting water (warm and cold). The mask does an excellent job of moisturizing and rejuvenating the skin;

Face mask: cocoa butter, liquid honey, carrot juice (each ingredient – one teaspoon), lemon juice (10 drops) and 1 yolk mix, apply gently on the face for 15 minutes. After the mask is washed off, rub your face with an ice cube.

Oily skin

Homemade cream contains the following ingredients: almond, rapeseed and cocoa butter, lavender and rosemary essential tinctures. Mix the prepared components of the cream with each other and put in a glass jar, store in a dark place.

Cocoa butter – description. Health benefits and harms

Unusual nourishing mask: mix one teaspoon of cocoa butter, condensed milk and any fruit juice with each other and apply on the face. After holding the mask for 15 minutes, rinse with water.

Cosmetologist’s advice: the product is universal. Don’t be afraid to use it in combination with the healing essential oils and herbs you know. Use to rejuvenate the neck, get rid of crow’s feet, dark circles under the eyes. Strengthen your eyelashes and eyebrows.

Cocoa butter for hair

A prepared mask will help to strengthen the hair, which includes: rosemary (2 tablespoons) and melted cocoa butter (3 tablespoons). Rosemary must first be infused in hot water for 2 hours. The mask is applied to the hair for two hours, covered with a plastic bag and a towel. It is recommended to use a medical mask 2 times a week.

Hair care mask

Ingredients: cocoa butter, burdock, rosemary and ginger, burdock, violet, oregano, rosehip, chamomile, calendula extracts, calamus root oil extract, cognac. It is used for healing purposes, gentle hair care, to strengthen hair roots and prevent hair loss.

Due to the softening properties of cocoa butter, the mask envelops the hair, prevents the ends from splitting, instantly restores damaged hair. Use once or twice every 7 days, keeping on hair for 2 hours under plastic wrap and a towel.

Cooking applications

Cocoa butter – description. Health benefits and harms

Before the invention of the hydraulic press in the mid-19th century, pastry chefs mixed ground cocoa beans, honey, nuts and spices, and then pressed the resulting mass. That chocolate was not at all like modern chocolate.

But with the advent of cocoa butter, the art of chocolatier has reached a new level.

But even today, natural cocoa butter practically does not go on sale, almost all of it is in demand by confectioners and is becoming more and more expensive.

The demand for the product is growing, because without this oil it is impossible to imagine slab chocolate, all kinds of sweets and bars, cakes, fondants and glaze. As before, cocoa butter makes hot chocolate tender and satisfying and is added to some coffees and desserts.

And white chocolate owes its existence and name exclusively to deodorized cocoa butter. In its recipe, unlike its milk or dark counterpart, there is no cocoa mass, only powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.

If a culinary lover is lucky enough to buy some cocoa butter, then it will help him master the art of confectionery on his own and feel like a pioneer of chocolate.

Cocoa butter can be added to drinks and desserts, milk cereals and puddings. The main thing is not to allow it to heat up too much, so that the oil does not lose all its beneficial properties, but brings only joy, energy and health.

Leave a Reply