Benefits of dark chocolate for your skin and body
Surprisingly, that decadent treat that many of us simply can’t live without makes the perfect addition to any diet. The benefits of dark chocolate begin right after you take that first bite.
We all know that we feel better after eating chocolate, and that is because our body uses it to produce the mood-elevating serotonin or the ‘happiness hormone’. However, did you know that the cocktail of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in cocoa-rich chocolate not only makes you feel good but actually look good too?
Rich in vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E as well as in iron and calcium, dark chocolate helps to nourish your skin by replacing its moisture and hydrating it, prevents ageing by stopping the breakdown of collagen, and even defends against harmful UV-rays thanks to its antioxidants flavonoids.
Eating a piece of dark chocolate everyday has a multitude of benefits for your health!
1. Moisturises your skin
Dark chocolate is loaded with proteins, minerals, and vitamins that are known to improve your skin’s moisture, thus consuming it may help improve the condition of your skin from the inside.
Furthermore, cocoa is known to soften your skin, that’s why you find a lot of moisturisers contain cocoa butter.
2. Micro-circulation for vibrant skin
Blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and helps carry away waste and free radicals. Poor blood circulation can lead to a dry, sallow, and unhealthy appearance on the skin. A study from the Institute of Biochemistry and Microbiology in Germany has found that regular flavanol-rich cocoa consumption acutely increases dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation.
This means that cacao which is high in flavanols showed to increase in overall oxygen content and blood flow in the body. By increasing blood flow and circulation you can keep your skin cells nourished and increase the overall vitality of the skin maintaining youthful skin longer.
3. Heals scars
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help to heal scars by sloughing off dead skin cells and lightening blemishes. It also contains caffeine and minerals which promotes cell regeneration and further nourishes your skin.
4. Reduce signs of ageing
Cacao is a miracle ingredient when it comes to anti-ageing. Aside from its rich antioxidant content which protects the skin from damaging free radicals, it also helps reduce dark spots and pigmentation, keeping your skin supple and radiant.
Furthermore, its stress-relieving properties prevent the breakdown of collagen, the main structural protein found in skin, which keeps it healthy and youthful.
5. Protects the skin
Regular exposure to sunlight’s UV-rays causes serious health problems, including skin cancer. Dark chocolate contains a group of antioxidants - flavanols, polyphenols and catechins – which provide protection against environmental stressors.
A London University study demonstrated that daily consumption of chocolate rich in flavanols provided significant protection against UV-rays and can thus be effective at protecting human skin from harmful UV effects.
Also, when applied directly to the skin, chocolate has the ability to repair and hydrate body parts that have been exposed to the sun.
6. Can improve skin complexion.
We have already covered how cacao hydrates, softens and rejuvenates the skin, but its benefits for an improved complexion are endless. Its nutrients improve your skin’s condition, reduce inflammation, and remove dead skin cells, for a more supple and radiant complexion.
The magnesium content in chocolate suppresses the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which directly improves your skin - by preventing damage caused by stress, such as breakouts and premature ageing - and indirectly through improved sleep.
7. Loaded with nutrients
We can’t keep telling your how nutritious dark chocolate is! A single serving provides your body with its daily needs, as it’s rich in: antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, etc.
All of which have many health benefits, not just for your skin, but also for your whole body, such as for your heart and circulation, general health, benefits for your mood and mental health, hair and even your weight!
8. Decreases stress levels
Let’s go into more detail about the importance of dark chocolate’s stress-relieving property.
Stress causes collagen breakdown in the skin which leads to rough, wrinkled, dull skin, making you look much older than your actual age. Furthermore, one of the leading factors of sleeplessness is stress, and a lack of sleep is known to affect your skin by affecting cellular regeneration, collagen production, skin hydration and by increasing inflammation.
Regular consumption of dark chocolate can reduce stress levels due to its magnesium and manganese content, and improve your overall mood as it helps produce serotonin.
9. Helps to lose and maintain weight
Chocolate is high in fibre and gives satiety, keeping you feeling full. Eating a small amount before a meal triggers the satiety hormone letting you know you are full, so you eat less.
You may also find that finishing a meal with some chocolate could stop you from snacking between meals, and therefore reduce your calorie intake.
Moreover, dark chocolate consumption may also reduce cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. So, try having a square of dark chocolate next time you think you “need” a high fat/sugar fix at 3pm to get you through to dinner. New research is indicating that dark chocolate in small amounts may prevent diabetes as it improves insulin sensitivity.
However, bear in mind…
Not all chocolate will give you the above benefits. Multiple studies confirmed not all chocolate is created equal. Due to this, it is important to train your taste buds to appreciate and crave the most bitter chocolate to receive the most benefits!
Always read the full ingredients to make sure you are consuming cacao with little to no extra sugars, fats, and ingredients that alter its health content.
Do not forget that Fair Trade Matters. Buying fair trade goes at least one step closer to making sure the manufacturers are being kept in check and the farmers are treated more fairly.
P.S You’re welcome! Now you have 9 official excuses for eating chocolate!