We know that there are many benefits to chocolate: It’s been shown to improve heart health, help fight the signs of aging and, of course, boost your mood. Now, researchers have provided us with yet another excuse to enjoy this sweet treat.
It turns out that chocolate helps protect against UV rays from the sun. And no, you won’t need to slather your body in chocolate fondue in order to get the benefits. The Journal of Nutrition reports that the superfood contains the antioxidants epicatechin and catechin that shield skin from the sun, but only when you eat it.
In the German study, women who consumed 326 milligrams of high-flavanol cocoa per day for 12 weeks had decreased sensitivity to UV light versus the participants who ingested just 27 milligrams per day. That’s because flavonoids, natural plant-based antioxidants that also potentially prevent heart attacks, absorb most UV light. This probably played a role in the affect on skin, says the researchers.
The study also found that women who ate more chocolate had smoother, more hydrated skin. But be aware, the researchers do not claim that chocolate will provide adequate UV protection all on it’s own. You still need to wear sunscreen and know that chocolate could serve as an extra boost of UV protection.
The results of this study are preliminary because they only tested 24 women for about 3 months. They plan to do more research to find out if chocolate consumption, specifically dark chocolate that’s high in flavonoids, can help fight skin damage from the sun.
For now, make sure to use your sunscreen and enjoy some delicious chocolate, because there are too many health benefits to deny yourself.
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