- What Is Cacao Butter?
- Top Health Benefits Connected to This Superfood
- Best Ways to Add Cacao Butter to Your Diet
What exactly is cacao butter?
Is it just a misspelling of cocoa butter, or are they two different things?
As it turns out, cocoa butter and cacao butter are one and the same.
But 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.
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.
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.
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[*].
On top of that, each tablespoon also provides 27.1mg of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that deliver their own health benefits[*].
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:
#1. Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Death
Cacao butter may improve your overall heart health.
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.
#2. Reduced 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 [*].
#3. Decreased Inflammation
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[*].
That same review examined a study which specifically found these anti-inflammatory effects to be more prominent in healthy individuals as opposed to those with previous inflammation and vascular issues.
The positive results also depended on the type of cocoa being used since not every type contains the same amount of beneficial flavanols.
You can find cacao butter in dark chocolate, white chocolate, and even milk chocolate.
But you can’t just eat a Snickers and call it a day.
So what is the best way to sneak cacao butter into your keto lifestyle?
Should you eat it out of a jar like almond butter?
While you technically could, you definitely wouldn’t want to unless you also enjoy eating spoonfuls of coconut oil.
Instead, try any one of these options for adding cacao butter to your weekly meal planning and take advantage of all these health benefits the easy (and delicious) way.
If you want cocoa butter’s positive health benefits, you can’t just settle for store-bought chocolate bars loaded with sugar, chemical ingredients, and tiny amounts of real cacao (if any). Follow these few simple tips to enjoy it the healthy way.
#1. Make Your Own Keto Chocolate Bars and Smoothies
You’re better off making your own homemade keto chocolate bars packed with organic cacao butter, MCT oil, unsweetened cacao powder, and maca powder than buying almost any other candy in the world.
Your homemade chocolate creations will have more antioxidants, healthy fats, and superfood-worthy ingredients to satisfy your sweet tooth without kicking you out of ketosis.
Plus, with only 1g of net carbs, you won’t experience a crazy sugar spike like you would with normal high-carb chocolate bars.
And this low-carb bar only takes five minutes to make, which means you can satisfy your cravings for that chocolate taste anytime.
You can also add cacao butter to your keto smoothies and keto coffee recipes in place of grass-fed butter.
#2. Add It to Your Homemade Chocolate Treats
After you master the art of keto chocolate bars, step up your candy game and create more indulgent chocolate treats like these keto peanut butter cups.
If you’re craving decadent, rich, and creamy delicacies free from harmful flavor additives and sweeteners, try these decadent pecan pie fudge bombs.
You’ll find coconut butter, chopped pecans, and melted cacao butter to give you that melt-in-your-mouth feeling. Plus, they’re packed with extra healthy fats, without dumping sugar or fake ingredients into the mix.
#3. Buy Perfect Keto Bars
When you’re short on time and don’t have a moment to spare getting crafty in the kitchen, simply grab an Almond Butter Brownie Keto Bar preloaded with healthy, keto-safe ingredients.
Available online, each bar contains only 3g of net carbs, 10g of protein, and 19g of fat — 5g of which are healthy saturated fats.
These bars don’t contain any hidden carbs, sugars, or artificial additives — the nutrient-dense ingredients are the reason why macros are filling.
The keto bars are a healthy mix of almond and cacao butter, coconut oil, collagen, and a touch of stevia and sea salt.
Plus, since they’re a low-carb portable snack option, you can grab one:
- As a quick, on-the-go breakfast
- During your afternoon lull, in between soccer practice, or after lunch at the office
- As a pre-workout or post-workout snack
- After dinner to combat sweet cravings
- Or stash it in your travel bag so you always have a keto-friendly snack on hand
This gives you all the health benefits of raw cocoa butter, along with other good-for-you ingredients, without having to make your own recipes.
Include Cacao Butter In Your Life Today
Now that you know more about cacao butter, including what it’s made from, its health benefits, and the best ways to include it into your keto diet, you can start adding it to your weekly keto meal plans today.
And if you’re feeling more ambitious, you can choose to make any of the other recipes listed in this guide.
If you decide to purchase raw cacao butter, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place. It generally has a shelf life of two to three years if it hasn’t been exposed to heat or wet conditions.
And as a friendly reminder, write the date you opened it on the package so you know when to toss it.
By adding more of this healthy fat to your low-carb life, you’ll reap the positive health benefits associated with this superfood and make it one of your regular staples in no time.