Got the craving? No worries, doctors and experts are saying that a little chocolate indulgence can go a long way toward not only boosting your overall health, but your skin too.
It turns out the Easter Bunny was right all along.
Natural, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and minerals that are so good for you, you’ll never feel bad about pandering your chocolatey sweet tooth again. Eat up; here’s how chocolate is good for you:
1. Mends dry skin
Like we mentioned in our post about Crazy/weird spa treatments from around the world, chocolate facials are actually quite common. That’s because high-cocoa dark chocolate is surprisingly rich in nutrients, even if you eat it.
The European Journal of Nutrition in 2007 found that dark chocolate helps improve microcirculation in the top layer of skin and eating it regularly can greatly help reduce moisture loss in skin.
2. Protects against sun damage
The same study also found that bioactive compounds (called flavanols) found in chocolate help protect your skin from sunburn, redness and UV damage.
3. Promotes a healthy heart
Still talking about flavanols, a 2006 study found that they stimulate the linings of arteries to produce more Nitric Oxide, which is used by the body to tell arteries to relax, reducing blood pressure. But they’re also believed to reduce the risk of heart disease in general, due to these anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to help keep cholesterol in check.
4. Helps lower bad cholesterol
San Diego State University’s Dr Mee Young Hong famously presented her study findings that the cocoa butter fat in dark chocolate helped reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol at an Experimental Biology meeting in 2012. Others have since gone on to show that the abundant antioxidants in dark chocolate even help prevent the oxidation of LDL – very important for combating tissue damage in the veins and heart.
5. It’s full of antioxidants
As we’ve mentioned before, oxidation in the body is very real and very bad for you. And your best defence is antioxidants, and dark chocolate is loaded with them: polyphenols, flavanols, catechins – you name it. Cocoa, which dark chocolate is made of, ranks as one of the highest scoring foods in terms of antioxidant activity, according to the standard measurement scale, the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity measure.
6. Promotes new cell growth
Minerals such as copper, iron and zinc are vital for new cell growth and, you guessed it, dark chocolate is full of these. In fact, just 100g of dark chocolate is said to contain about 67% of your daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron, and 89% for copper. It also scores very highly in zinc.
7. Reduces stress to combat collagen breakdown
Collagen is one of the basic building blocks of skin, and one of our 5 Elements of Healthy Skin. But stress is known to cause collagen breakdown over time, which is why it’s important to manage your stress. Dark chocolate has been shown to decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which, in combination with its richness in antioxidants and minerals, helps prevent the breakdown of collagen in skin.
NOTE: THIS ONLY COUNTS FOR DARK CHOCOLATE!
Please be aware that these health benefits only apply to real chocolate, made with cocoa (commonly known as dark chocolate). Most normal store-bought chocolates are made with milk and often no cocoa at all! So, be careful, and look for the real-deal dark chocolate. They’re usually the ones that indicate the cocoa content: 60%, 70%, 80% etc. Naturally, the higher the cocoa content, the more bitter it is, but the healthier and more natural too. Aim for 70–90% and be a champion.