Can you eat shea butter?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “Can you eat shea butter?” We will describe the composition of shea butter and its nutritional value. We will also discuss the difference between refined and unrefined shea butter. In the end, we will list the benefits of eating it.

Yes, you can eat shea butter, it offers many health benefits besides being used as fat in cooking and in cosmetics as an emollient. It is a type of fat obtained from the seeds of the shea tree native to Africa.

The seed butter is often applied topically to treat skin problems and wrinkles. In skin creams and lotions, shea butter is a frequent component. Shea butter is also edible and often used in African cookery.

Shea butter is made from two oily kernels found in the seed of the shea tree. The seed’s kernel is removed and crushed into a powder before being cooked in water. The butter rises to the surface of the water and solidifies.

Shea butter is used as an emollient in cosmetics. It may aid in the softening or smoothing of dry skin. Shea butter also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to minimize skin oedema. Eczema and other skin-swelling diseases may benefit from this treatment.

However, the majority of shea butter produced in Africa is used for cooking and eating.

Shea butter is a fat derived from the shea tree’s (Vitellaria paradoxa) nuts. It has an off-white or ivory tint and is solid at warm temperatures. Shea trees are native to West Africa, and the majority of shea butter is still produced there.

It is available in both refined and unrefined varieties. Shea oil that has not been processed is extracted by hand from the seeds. With the use of chemicals, refined shea butter is extracted from the seeds throughout the production process.

How many calories and nutrients are there in shea butter?

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one tablespoon (13.6g) of shea butter.

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0mg
  • Fiber: 0mg
  • Sugars: 0mg
  • Protein: 0mg

Carbs in shea butter

Shea nut butter has no carbs. This food is sugar-free, starch-free, and fiber-free. Shea nut butter’s estimated glycemic load and glycemic index are both 0.

Fats in shea butter

One tablespoon of shea butter contains 14 grams of total fat. The majority of this fat is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat which is considered to be healthy. Though a small portion also consists of saturated fats.

Fat accounts for all of the calories in shea butter. The oil contains stearic, linoleic, and palmitic fatty acids, as well as other fatty components, according to researchers.

What’s the difference between refined and unrefined shea butter?

The main difference between refined and unrefined shea butter lies in the process through which they are made. In unrefined shea butter, the fat from the seeds is removed by hand and it doesn’t involve any chemical extraction.

Unrefined shea butter may have a yellowish or creamy color, while refined shea butter is usually white and odorless.

Refined butter, on the other hand, is extracted through different industrial processes, making use of many other additives to aid in the extraction process. This, according to the American Shea Butter Institute, removes any undesirable qualities present in unrefined butter.

However, the refining process may also remove advantageous nutrients, rendering it less beneficial for health.

What are the benefits of eating shea butter?

Shea butter may not be the first choice of butter in cooking, but it provides immense health benefits and thus can be readily substituted for other butter and fats for cooking.

1. Anti-inflammatory effects

Shea butter includes plant sterol esters, which have been shown to inhibit the enzyme that produces inflammation, as well as pain and stiffness in the joints; as a result, shea butter might be an excellent alternative for anybody suffering from RA or any other kind of arthritis.

2. Antioxidant

Antioxidants are compounds that help protect your cells from free radicals, which are linked to a variety of diseases, including cancer.

Antioxidants can also aid in the prevention of diseases such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and immunological insufficiency, as well as slowing the aging process.

Polyphenols are the antioxidants found in shea butter. They help in digestion, brain health, they can also prevent heart ailments and type 2 diabetes. The same are also found in:

  • Green tea
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Dark chocolate
  • Some wines

3. Lowers Cholesterol

As discussed before, the major fat content in shea butter is monounsaturated fat, which has positive effects on your blood cholesterol levels: it lowers total lipids in your body which significantly reduces the occurrences of heart stroke and hypertension.

4. Contains Key Vitamins

Shea butter is high in vitamins A, E, and F, as well as other essential elements. These vitamins are necessary for the proper functioning of your body and its different functions:

  • Vitamin A: This vitamin is essential for your vision as well as your immune system. It can also aid in the prevention of cancer, bone health, acne reduction, and reproductive health.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. As a result, nuts and oils can be excellent sources of vitamin E. It can aid in the health of your heart, bones, eyes, and organ tissues.
  • Vitamin F: is required to reduce inflammation, promote heart health, support mental wellness, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

5. Promotes Healthy Skin

Although shea butter’s advantages for the skin are largely obtained through topical applications, it may also be consumed, since the body can absorb its major elements, vitamins A, E, and F.

You can also read 22 Reasons why you should add shea butter to your diet.


In this brief article, we answered the question “Can you eat shea butter?” We described the composition of shea butter and its nutritional value. We also discussed the difference between refined and unrefined shea butter. In the end, we listed the benefits of eating it.