Eating for beauty benefits doesn’t mean a lifetime sentence of salad (although leafy greens do wonders for your body and your skin). Instead of feeling guilty after getting “wasted on chocolate”, you get excited, (as long as you choose the right kind of chocolate) because you’ll be reaping some beauty benefits and health rewards for treating yourself!
Some chocolate can deliver significant beauty benefits. However, the only chocolate that can supply these benefits is dark chocolate having at least 70% cocoa content. Unfortunately, most treats found in the candy aisle and conveniently located upon check-out at grocery stores and pharmacies are the wrong kind of chocolate. Dark chocolate, the good stuff, is lower in sugar and high in cocoa. It’s super-rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that nourish our bodies. For example, cocoa contains naturally occurring plant substance called; flavonoids which can contribute to a healthy heart and help reduce the risk of stroke. Dark chocolate also relaxes blood vessels, which in turn can reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Several studies even suggest that it may also be a “feel-good” treat that increases production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and improved blood flow to the brain.
Reasons To Splurge:
1. Helps repairs dry skin. Dark chocolate contains iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B1, C, D and E can help keep skin moist and well nourished. Swap out that extra cup of coffee or green tea for a cocoa-rich drink that will deeply moisturize skin and leave behind a healthy glow.
2. Shields against harmful UV rays. Flavanols found in dark chocolate have been clinically shown to help skin protect itself from sunburn, redness and other signs of UV damage. When applied directly to the skin, it also has the ability to repair and hydrate body parts that have been exposed to the sun, but I don’t suggest slacking on sunscreen.
3. Erases fine lines and wrinkles. Things seem a bit calmer right after we nibble on a piece of dark chocolate, and we all know how stress impacts our skin. Cocoa helps reduce stress hormones, which means less collagen breakdown in the skin and fewer wrinkles. In addition, the flavanols even improve skin hydration and thickness, both necessary factors for younger looking skin. Dark chocolate also makes a great detoxifier in combination with caffeine, an ingredient that can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, too!
4. Adds shine to lifeless locks. Infused with the goodness of several hair benefiting ingredients, dark chocolate can improve the overall health of your tresses, making them super-glossy and voluminous. Additionally, incredible anti-inflammatory properties help to minimize the odds of getting scalp infections. A yummy at-home hair mask can be made out of unsweetened dark chocolate; honey and yogurt, then mix and apply. You can then cover your hair with plastic wrap and let it work its magic for about an hour. Wash with cold water, rinse and voila!...super shiny strands!
5. Promotes hair growth. Copper, zinc and iron are minerals that promote the cell renewal growth process and dark chocolate is full of them. Dark chocolate helps promote blood circulation in the scalp which leads to increased growth of healthier, more lustrous locks and very effective in reducing hair loss.
While, dark chocolate clearly has concrete beauty, and health, benefits, you have to keep portion control in mind. Research indicates that two to three ounces of 70 plus percent dark chocolate a week is all you need to reap the health benefits. Satisfy your daily craving, without blowing your diet, with a one-ounce serving in the afternoon or for a mini dessert after dinner. Remembering, anything more and you’ll be indulging in a lot more than just flavonoids, you’ll be getting the fat, sugar, and calories, too. So, the next time you find yourself reaching for that rich, decadent dark chocolate, go ahead! Enjoy it…you deserve it!
Looking for a real treat and for combating dull, lack-luster skin, immerse yourself in a cherry chocolate facial treatment from A Natural Difference Spa in Wilmington. It’s full of potent antioxidants that will protect your skin from damaging free radicals and increasing blood flow. All while gently sloughing away dead skin cells and resulting in a smooth, supple complexion, allowing newly exposed, fresh skin to breathe freely.
Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. They can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables. When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.
Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke. If your body does not have enough antioxidants to combat the amount of oxidation that occurs, it can become damaged by free radicals. For example, an increase in oxidation can cause low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, to form plaque on the artery walls.
Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
These plant chemicals aren’t only found in chocolate. In fact, a wide variety of foods and beverages are rich in flavonols. These include cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, tea and red wine.
Soruce: Cleveland Clinic
Erica has been in the spa and wellness industries for over 7 years, she decided her true passion was skincare and developed a strong desire to become a chemical peel expert. Erica is a Master Esthetician with A Natural Difference Spa in Wilmington, DE where she also completed an internship. Helping others to achieve results and the skin they’ve always wanted gives her the greatest gratification!