Chocolate Does What for Your Skin? You Won't Believe It

June 29, 2012

The recent rash of UV-related studies have been such a buzz kill. Spray tanning can kill you, skin cancer is on the rise, etc., etc. Happy summer, everyone -- no sunshine for you, go live in a cave instead. Sigh.

But, wait, what's this? There's finally some good news on the UV front and it's a doozy; chocolate is nature's sunscreen (sort of).

Not that I really need incentive to eat chocolate, but a new study shows that the compounds found in high-flavanol cocoa can not only give antioxidant benefits and prevent heart disease, but protect our skin from UV rays.

Related: 8 Must-Eat Superfoods for Women

The study in the Journal of Nutrition reports that the group of women who ate 326 mg per day of high-flavanol cocoa for 12 weeks had decreased sensitivity to UV light, increased blood flow, and increased skin hydration and thickness than those who ate less of the sweet stuff.

Related: The Anti-Aging Ingredient More Important Than Sunscreen

The result? The high-flavanol group was less susceptible to sunburns.

Now, don't think that these findings give you carte blanche to scarf Kit Kats and Milky Ways every morning before heading outdoors. Highly processed chocolate bars like those have loads of sugar and not nearly enough real chocolate. Opt instead for organic and raw dark chocolate (the higher percentage of actual cacao the better) which contain the goods your skin needs and much less of the junk it doesn't.

If you need me, I'll be (the pale one) in the chocolate aisle.

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