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.
The cocoa butter, depending on the processing to which it is subjected, can be used both for food and for cosmetic purposes . Food grade cocoa butter is found in pastry shops and specialty food stores, while cocoa butter for cosmetic use can be purchased in herbal medicine and pharmacy.
The 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 case of cocoa butter for food and of paraffins and vegetable fats for cocoa butter for cosmetic purposes.
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 fat 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 fats, B vitamins, vitamin E and some minerli, makes cocoa butter a very tasty ingredient in the kitchen and also healthy;
> antioxidant : the polyphenols present in cocoa butter counteract the formation of free radicals, responsible for cellular aging;
> protective for the skin : the flavonoids, the 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 able to accelerate superficial lipolysis :
> anti-inflammatory : cocoa butter contains phytosterols, able to carry out an anti - inflammatory action locally, especially in external use.
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 the 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 it to maintain hydration and the optimal hydrolipidic characteristics of the epidermis.
Used in natural cosmetics to be applied on face skin and hair, as well as in body creams, both to slim 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 adjunct in the treatment of eczema, superficial skin lesions, burns: cocoa butter is soothing and anti-inflammatory; it can therefore be used, adequately diluted, as a support in treatments to combat eczema, superficial skin irritations, burns.
The cocoa butter is solid at room temperature. In the case of cosmetic use, it is therefore necessary to heat it in a bain-marie, avoiding raising the temperature above 38 degrees, to prevent it from becoming 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 producing effects contrary to what is desired. Check carefully the quantity indicated in the natural cosmetic recipes.