There was a time when teenagers were cautioned against eating too much chocolate because it would cause acne breakouts. While the sugar, and not the chocolate was likely the culprit if any of these chocolate-induced breakouts were real, there is research now that shows chocolate can actually benefit the skin – particularly when it’s dark chocolate.
First, it’s worth noting that most chocolate is milk chocolate (if it’s even chocolate at all). The chocolate candy bars you’ll find in most stores are highly processed, containing added sugar and potentially many other questionable ingredients. Needless to say, this kind of chocolate is not very beneficial. When searching for chocolate, always go for the dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. You may see candy bars that list “70% cocoa” or more, with the higher concentrations being lower in sugar and subsequently better for you.
How Chocolate can Benefit Your Skin
In a small preliminary study, German researchers found that women who ingested hot chocolate rich in flavonoids experienced skin protecting benefits when compared with those who didn’t, suggesting the healthful compounds in dark chocolate could protect against skin cancer and oxidative damage that leads to aging of the skin.
Women who received the flavonoid-rich chocolate didn’t burn as easily when exposed to UV rays, in addition to having more supple and moisturized skin.
So, what is it about chocolate that is so great for your skin? Antioxidants.
Flavanoids found in dark chocolate have antioxidant properties that work to protect the skin from oxidative stress and damage. Just like antioxidants in your vegetables protect your cells, so do the flavonoids in chocolate.
These flavonoids are also believed to increase blood flow to the skin, keeping it hydrated and staving off premature wrinkles.
The important thing to remember here is that you must indulge in the ‘right’ kind of chocolate. Again, a Hershey’s bar won’t cut it and neither will chocolate ice cream. Spend the extra dollar and purchase a dark organic chocolate bar with at least 75% cocoa, and more if the bitter flavor doesn’t bother you. You can also find dark chocolate nibs and powders to add to recipes.
Good chocolate does not have to be taboo; you can have your chocolate and eat it too. (And no, you don’t need to wear a chocolate face mask to reap chocolate’s skin-enhancing benefits).
In addition to chocolate, here are 5 other foods to eat for a younger, more attractive look.