CHOCOLATE – love it – hate it??

Chocolate – good or bad for you  – love it or hate – but did you know that Chocolate is a skin anti-ager??

I don’t know anyone who hate’s chocolate – for me it all started with the arrival of the Easter Bunny, I think my earliest memories of eating  chocolate was at Easter when it seemed in full abundance,  my mother had to hide our Chocolate treats in the Freezer so that we didn’t  find them!

But, did you know, apart from being wonderful to eat, it is actually good for us (but not all chocolate is the same) I am referring to the heavenly dark high cocoa percentage chocolate – the REAL Chocolate with a high percentage of Cocoa SOLIDS!  has to have over 70%  – Packed full of antioxidants, chocolate is increasingly gaining a place among the circle of healthful foods.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that a moderate amount of chocolate – especially dark chocolate – is good for our gut healthcholesterol levels, and brain. It may even lower the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.  The health benefits of chocolate are thought to be due to the high levels of antioxidants

But what about our skin health? Can chocolate prevent skin aging?

Here are are benefits of applying Chocolate topically to the skin:

  • Moisturizes skin.  With its high percentage in cocoa butter, dark chocolate is a common ingredient which is highly recommended to make homemade face masks for all skin types. This is due to its many properties, including the ability to effectively moisturize the dermis, with great results on the face and the rest of the body.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – due to its high content of cocoa helps fight skin inflammation, so it is of great use when the skin presents some kind of irritation or inflammation, for example in cases of acne or rosacea.
  • High antioxidants. Another benefit of dark chocolate for skin is in its ability to help fight premature ageing. This is thanks to its large antioxidant content. That is why, after applying a chocolate facial or body mask, we will notice that our skin is much softer and with a healthy, rejuvenated appearance.
  • Prevents wrinkles. Chocolate also benefits circulation in the face and body, giving the impression that our skin is much smoother. On the face, its application helps smooth wrinkles significantly, and it conceals blemishes on the rest of the body.
  • Improves hair elasticity. Dark chocolate is full of magnesium and vitamin B1, which means it’s a great aid for people with brittle hair, as it strengthens it and improves its elasticity. Take a look at how to make a DIY chocolate hair mask to take advantage of i

What about if you just ate chocolate – will it still provide anti-aging benefits

Cocoa – the main ingredient in chocolate nutritionists have confirmed that Cocoa is a useful inclusion in your diet to help prevent against stroke and heart disease.  So let’s take a closer look at how the benefits of dark chocolate for anti aging were discovered, and why it works.

Why Dark Chocolate is Better than Milk Chocolate

In a study which showed consumption of dark chocolate can help improve antioxidant levels in the body, the same effect was not observed among groups of people who consumed milk chocolate.    In addition, researchers ascertained that consuming milk chocolate while dark chocolate is being consumed will actually deplete the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate.

A group of researchers from Scotland confirmed that the amount of flavonoids found in dark chocolates is double the antioxidant content of milk chocolate.

For the sake of your health, it is important to understand why dark chocolate is different to other chocolate. Simply put, the best way to get maximum benefit from the antioxidant properties of cocoa is to eat the unprocessed bean. Pound for pound, it is a true antioxidant powerhouse.

However, the active ingredients that are beneficial to health also make the bean quite bitter. When it is processed into chocolate, many of these are removed to make it more palatable.   Also, milk and sugar can be added to make tasty, but unhealthy, milk chocolate.

Beneficial dark chocolate contains at least 70 per cent cocoa – the trade off is health benefits for a more bitter taste.  The taste is by no means bad, and in fact many people prefer dark chocolate.  At the other end of the spectrum is white chocolate where cocoa is a very minor ingredient.

Most importantly, even though its antioxidant properties are deemed healthy it is important to keep in mind that even dark chocolate consumption must be done in moderation.  It should be only a small part of an all round healthy diet and lifestyle supplemented with exercise, good quality sleep and lots of water.

Enjoy it, but a little and not to often!

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