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Shea Butter (Ori) – Benefits, nutrition and healthy recipes
By on December 13th, 2022. Trending
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Shea butter comes from the nut of the African shea tree, also known as Ori, which originates from the savannah regions of West and Central Africa. Shea trees, also known as karite trees, are not cultivated. They only grow wild, reach a height of twenty meters and take more than fifteen years to bear their first edible fruits.

They have a useful life of 300 years. Shea butter comes from two oily grains found in the seed of the shea tree. After separating from the seed, the grain is crushed to a powder and boiled in water. The butter hardens as it rises to the surface of the water.

Shea butter has a long-term use as a cosmetic component. It is an excellent product to soften, soothe and condition the skin due to its high content of vitamins and fatty acids and its easy-to-spread consistency.

Plus, it’s edible. Therefore, shea butter has been used as a component in the preparation of multiple foods in Africa for generations. There are several advantages to using shea products, which vary depending on the type of shea butter in the product.

Shea Butter Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for shea butter is limited because it is made up primarily of organic acids, including oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and arachidic acid. However, these fatty acids provide various health benefits, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

The nutritional profile of this butter can be altered depending on the level of processing and the inclusion of extra aromatic or chemical components for cosmetic products. 

According to the USDA, 100 g of shea butter contains the following nutrients:

  • Energy: 884 Kcal
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat (total lipids): 100g
  • Fibra: 0g
  • Carbohydrate: 0g
  • Fatty acid, total saturated: 46.6 g
  • Fatty acid, total monounsaturated: 44g
  • Fatty acid, total polyunsaturated: 5.2 g

Protein

In one of the  studies  , the protein composition of shea butter is not well understood.

There was no evidence of IgE binding to shea nuts or butter. The high fat content of the shea nut can restrict protein extraction; therefore, it has no available protein.

fats

The fat provides all the calories in the shea butter. Research  shows stearic, linoleic and palmitic fatty acids and other fatty components in the oil. If you eat just one serving, there are 14 grams of total fat. One tablespoon is considered one serving.

micronutrients

Supporters of shea butter claim that it is high in vitamin E for moisturizing and moisturizing skin cream. But it contains no vitamins or minerals, according to the USDA in terms of food preparation.

Carbohydrate

The estimated glycemic load and glycemic index of shea butter are zero, indicating that it contains no carbohydrates, no sugars, no starch, and no fiber.

Shea butter varieties

Shea butter comes in four varieties: raw, unrefined, refined, and ultra-refined shea butter. Shea nuts are processed in the same way for all types. However, additional processing such as filtration, contaminant and odor removal, color change, and composition modification make a difference.

raw shea butter

There are five processes for making raw shea butter:

  • Remove the outer shell and dry the nuts
  • chop the walnuts
  • grinding and roasting
  • Boil the shea pulp in water
  • During the boiling process, it collects the butter from the surface of the water.

Raw butter includes specific contaminants and has a distinctive smoky aroma from roasting due to lack of further processing. Also, raw butter is often a deep yellow or greenish color if the nuts are not fully ripe when processed.

Unrefined shea butter

Raw shea butter and unrefined shea butter are quite comparable. However, there is a distinction in the filtering of these two varieties of butter: unrefined shea butter can be filtered as long as the filtering methods do not degrade its quality. No chemicals or preservatives are allowed in Raw Shea Butter. Unrefined shea butter is beige in color and smells nutty after the filtering process.

Refined and ultra-refined shea butter

Refined Shea Butter undergoes complete filtration and odor removal. As a result, it has fewer nutrients than raw, unprocessed shea butter and contains fragrances and preservatives.

Shea butter that has been ultra-refined has passed through at least two filtering systems, modifying its composition. As a result, it loses nutrients during the refining process. The consistency can range from firm to runny, and the color of ultra-refined butter is extremely white. You can find this type of shea butter in mass-produced cosmetics.

Refined and ultra-refined shea products are more visually appealing, easier to use and feel more luxurious. Unfortunately, the moisturizing and healing abilities diminish throughout the refining process.

African Shea Butter

Shea butter from Africa has been around for generations in its natural state. Not only is this an excellent natural moisturizer, it is also edible and has impressive therapeutic abilities for a variety of skin concerns.

Shea butter has been used throughout Africa for centuries for hairdressing, skin care, candle making, and food preparation such as cooking oil. It is commonly present in cosmetics as a moisturizer, ointment, or lotion.

Shea butter application

Shea butter is used in the production of chocolates as an equivalent and improver of cocoa butter (previously mixed with other oils), although its flavor is different. Shea butter is easily absorbed into the skin as it melts at body temperature. In addition, it has good water retention capabilities and works as a refatting agent (a refatting agent replenishes the skin). Shea butter’s moisturizing and soothing properties help treat various skin conditions. Interestingly, it also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to some extent.

It has become a popular ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products due to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids. Shea butter has gained popularity in Western industrialized countries due to its widespread use in skin and hair care products such as moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, lip gloss, lipsticks, creams, and emulsions. Also, it is a natural sunscreen that can protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays to some extent due to the presence of cinnamic acid. Therefore, shea butter is found in sunscreen products (lotions and creams) along with other powerful sunscreen agents.

Shea Butter Shelf Life

Shea butter has a shelf life of approximately 24 months (2 years) from the date of manufacture and packaging. Shelf life depends on storage and temperature. Also, no chemicals are added to raw shea butter, so expect some variation in your butter from time to time. A  study  shows that the natural antioxidants in shea butter offer excellent stability and shelf life.

First of all, if your shea butter smells rancid, it is no longer suitable. You may confuse its smoky, nutty aroma if you’re not familiar with raw, unrefined shea butter as rancid. A rancid odor makes you gag and reminds you of rancid olive oil or spoiled food. Throw out the shea butter if it smells terrible. 

Here are some suggestions to extend the shelf life of shea butter:

  • Protect your shea butter from UV radiation and purchase UV jars to store it. UV jars prevent sunlight from entering the jar and oxidizing the shea butter. The vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter will be gone forever if they oxidize. Therefore, investing in a UV container is the best option.
  • Keep your shea butter in a cold place at all times. For example, you can put it in the refrigerator to prevent it from melting. Excessive heat is also one of the many reasons that shea butter spoils more quickly.
  • To avoid expiration, do not touch it with dirty hands. Always wash your hands before you touch it to make sure the shea butter is free from bacteria and germs. It is especially vital if you plan to cook or bake with shea butter. Bacteria can grow in shea butter and cause it to spoil quickly.
  • Air pollution can cause shea butter to oxidize, stripping it of its nutrients. If you want your shea butter to last as long as possible, store it in an airtight container. The less it comes into contact with the air, the longer it can last.

Potential Benefits of Shea Butter

When used topically, shea butter has several health benefits, including moisturizing the skin, reducing inflammation, preventing premature aging, protecting cardiovascular health, and whitening the skin.

skin health

The fatty acids, including linoleic, oleic, stearic and palmitic acids in this butter, are well known for penetrating the skin and delivering nutrients and antioxidants deep down, keeping skin nourished and healthy.

Hair care

Shea butter applied to the scalp and hair can aid in hair development, prevention of hair loss, and reduction of irritation. This simple treatment could help you get rid of dandruff. However, it will not block your pores.

Linoleic acid and oleic acid are abundant in shea butter. These two acids counteract each other. That means shea butter is easy to absorb and won’t leave hair greasy after application. Kill germs. 

According to one  study  , oral doses of shea bark extract may have antibacterial effects. Although further research is needed, this could still indicate that humans could benefit from the antibacterial properties. As a result, some researchers believe that topical treatment will reduce the number of acne-causing bacteria on the scalp. 

Benefits in Eczema, Dermatitis and Psoriasis

Shea butter helps reduce irritation and soothes the skin due to its anti-inflammatory nature. Therefore, inflammatory skin disorders, including eczema and psoriasis, could benefit from this treatment. Shea is also quickly absorbed, which may relieve burning sensations. According to  research  , it may be as effective as pharmaceutical lotions in treating eczema. 

Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke

Shea butter contains monounsaturated fats, which provide some health benefits if consumed. For example, monounsaturated fatty acids can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering LDL cholesterol, commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. According to one  study  , monounsaturated fats can also help build and maintain cells in the body.

Research  shows that shea butter as a raw material for margarine instead of trans fats is healthier for cardiovascular health due to its high concentration of stearic acid and melting point. Also, eliminating the hydrogenation process, which is otherwise required to “harden” vegetable oils, will reduce the cost of producing shea butter-based margarine. However, keep in mind that shea butter has just as much saturated fat as monounsaturated fat. Because it could contribute to increased amounts of harmful cholesterol in your blood, eat shea butter in moderation. 

Relieves sunburn and skin burns.

Shea butter soothes superficial (first-degree) skin burns, such as sunburn . The anti-inflammatory components of shea butter help reduce redness and swelling. Its fatty acid components help soothe the skin keeping it hydrated while it heals. 

help with congestion

Shea butter helps relieve nasal congestion. When used in nasal drops, it helps reduce nasal inflammation. It also helps in reducing mucosal damage, which is responsible for nasal congestion.

Healthy and delicious recipes with shea butter

Shea butter cookies

Preparation time – 30 minutes

Cooking time – 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Shea Manteca: 200 g
  • Soft flour: 250 g (1 cup)
  • Sugar: 125 g (½ cup)
  • Vanilla essence: 1 tablespoon

Preparation method

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  • Add shea butter, sugar, and vanilla essence to a bowl and mix.
  • Add the flour and mix to form a crumbly texture, then gently press into a dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined surface and use your fingers to gently press the dough down.
  • Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and carefully use the rolling pin to roll it out to an inch thick.
  • Put them on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 170 ° C for 10-12 minutes.
  • Shea butter cookies are ready to serve.

Bread without yeast

Preparation time – 40 minutes

Cooking time – 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Plain flour: 8 cups
  • Condensed milk: 8 teaspoons
  • Sugar: ½ cup
  • Salt: ½ teaspoon
  • Butter (melted): 1 cup

Preparation method

  • Preheat the oven to 150C.
  • In a bowl, put the flour, pour in the melted butter and add the sugar, fresh milk, salt and condensed milk.
  • Whisk all the mixtures to combine and form a smooth dough.
  • Divide the dough into four on a baking board.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out each dough flat.
  • Cut to desired sizes.
  • Dust a little flour in a baking pan before placing the cut dough in the pan.
  • Place in oven and bake until flatbread is lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Unless you do a lot of cooking based on African cuisine, you won’t find many recipes that call for shea butter. However, some chefs use shea butter instead of other fats and oils in cooking.

Shea butter, for example, can be used in stir fry recipes. It can also be used in smoothies in the same way as coconut oil to give them a creamy feel. Shea butter is also vegan because it comes from seeds instead of dairy. Therefore, you can use it in recipes that call for butter, such as baked goods and cereal dishes.

Potential allergy to shea butter

While it is impossible to say that no one will be allergic to shea nut butter, it appears that people with other nut allergies may be at higher risk from shea nuts. However, those with a confirmed tree nut allergy should carry epinephrine with them at all times.

Pure shea butter is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. However, you may be allergic to the fragrance, preservative, or dye in shea butter products. In addition, allergy to nuts is very common and can be quite serious. Still, an allergy to shea nuts is rare. 

conclusion

Shea butter is made by collecting the nuts from an African tree. It’s high in critical nutrients to help you glow from the inside out and enhance your natural complexion. It has a variety of applications, including cooking and skin care, but one of the most popular is for hair. Shea butter is available in various grades with different appearances and smells. The choice between refined and unrefined shea butter is primarily a matter of taste. 

Keep in mind that while refined shea butter is moisturizing, it lacks the skin-soothing properties of unrefined shea butter. However, it is generally considered a safe and effective moisturizer with numerous additional benefits, including reducing skin inflammation and the appearance of aging.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q. What does shea butter do to your skin?

A. Shea butter is an excellent cosmetic product to soften the skin due to its high content of fatty acids and vitamins. It is anti-inflammatory and healing and can help condition, tone and soothe the skin, especially on the face.

Q. Can I put shea butter on my face?

A. Shea butter is also known as “Mother Nature’s conditioner” for its extraordinary softening and moisturizing abilities. Therefore, you can use it as a face mask or face cream. In addition, its unique nutrition concentration benefits the skin.

Q. Can shea butter harm you?

A. It is suitable for all skin types. In truth, there is no medical evidence of an allergy to shea butter. Shea butter is free of chemical irritants that dry out the skin and won’t clog pores. It is suitable for almost all skin types.

Q. Does shea butter make hair grow?

A. Shea butter has a variety of nutrients that can be used to condition and soften hair. Among them are ingredients such as oleic acid, stearic acid and linoleic acid. These elements will nourish the scalp and follicles, feeding and stimulating them, but they are unlikely to help you grow new hair; instead, they will help you preserve what you already have.

Q. Can shea butter remove pimples?

A. Shea butter cleanses and moisturizes the skin while removing excess oil without drying it out. As a result, it makes for an effective treatment for current pimples. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that help heal the skin and is high in collagen, which helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles.

Q. Can shea butter remove dark spots?

A. Hyperpigmentation, age spots, and liver spots are terms for dark spots on the skin. Shea butter for skin discoloration can help remove dark spots and prevent them from appearing in the first place. It is a natural alternative to medications such as hydroquinone, an exfoliant that accelerates cell renewal and reveals younger looking skin.

Q. Is shea butter good for lips?

A. Shea butter is well known for its ability to deeply hydrate even the most dehydrated skin. As an emollient, shea butter moisturizes your lips in the short term and softens them over time. Shea butter may be just what you need to create a velvety smooth lip if you are having trouble applying lip color to chapped lips.

Q. Which is better, shea butter or cocoa butter?

A. Shea butter is made from the nuts of shea trees, while cocoa butter comes from cocoa beans. Because shea butter is light, it may be better for acne-prone skin. On the other hand, cocoa butter is better for massages because of its relaxing aroma. Also, it can improve stretch marks and other skin blemishes. Finally, while both types of butter can be beneficial, it’s best to experiment with them to see which works best.

Q. How do you know if shea butter is real?

A. Not all varieties of shea butter are the same. The color should be ivory white or yellowish. Due to country of origin, colors vary. When you apply shea butter to your skin, it should be very creamy and absorb quickly. If the butter is not pure, it feels oily and spreads instead of soaking into the skin.

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About Author
Daniel Onimisi Ford

My Name is Daniel Onimisi Ford Hails From Ajaokuta LGA of Kogi State. Am A Blogger, Web Designer, Graphic Designer and A YouTuber.

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