Chocolate is a Sunscreen! Seriously

As if you needed another reason to eat chocolate, it turns out that chocolate is a sunscreen.  Well, not exactly, but high-flavanol cocoa protects skin from UV rays, so it is close enough for me.  A study showed those who consumed the chocolate drink with higher amounts of flavanols suffered less significant burns than those who had a drink with less. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that you should eat all of your leftover Halloween candy, as the cheap stuff doesn’t have much cocoa in it.  Stick to a quality dark chocolate to get the skin benefits.

In addition to benefits to the skin, there are multiple other reasons to ensure a daily intake of chocolatey deliciousness.  According to Mount Sinai, the consumption of chocolate has been found to impact:

  • Breast Cancer: A study examining the eating habits of people in Greece and their health outcomes concluded that diets high in flavonoids may help protect against breast cancer.
  • Blood Pressure: The flavanols in cocoa can increase the production of nitric oxide, which promotes the widening of blood vessels and can decrease blood pressure. A number of studies have looked at the link between dark chocolate and blood pressure, typically demonstrating small but significant reductions.
  • Insulin Resistance: When compared with white chocolate, dark chocolate was found to significantly increase insulin sensitivity, and regular consumption of cocoa flavanols was linked to an improvement of insulin resistance.
  • Cognitive function: The flavanols in chocolate may boost blood flow to the brain. In a study of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment, regular cocoa flavanol consumption was associated with an improvement in cognitive performance.
  • Appetite regulation: Participants in a study examining appetite and energy intake after chocolate consumption were less hungry after eating dark chocolate than milk chocolate. Participants also ate less after consuming the dark chocolate.

In case you don’t want to eat plain chocolate (and really, why wouldn’t you?) the founder of the Dubin Breast Center, is known for her fantastic homemade chocolate chocolate treats.

8 ounces good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raw almonds (chopped)

1.  Break up chocolate into small pieces and place in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water.  Stir until chocolate melts, careful to prevent burning.
2.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Pour the melted chocolate onto the pan, and spread into a thin layer with a spatula.
3.  Sprinkle the chocolate with sea salt, cranberries and almonds, and place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has cooled and becomes breakable (approximately 30 minutes).
4.  Break the cooled chocolate into large pieces, and enjoy!  Store your chocolate in an airtight, refrigerated container.

Bottom Line: Eat chocolate because it’s delicious and will keep you looking young.

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