C is for Cookie: Forget SPF! Pass me the chocolate, please.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Forget SPF! Pass me the chocolate, please.

Yippee!! Those scientists just keep on finding new reasons to eat chocolate. All you chocolate lovers out there know that we don't need any more reasons, anyway, but keep up the good work men and women of science.

The Journal of Nutrition's June 2006 issue featured a study on the effects of chocolate to protect women from skin damage. One of the ways that everyone agrees that free radicals can harm us is through the sun's rays. And antioxidants in food definitely help to counteract the bad effects of those free radicals. So, did the women spread chocolate on their skin and go lie in the sun, you ask? Heavens no. What a waste that would be......they had a cup of hot cocoa each day, and the cocoa happened to be high in flavanols (plant-based antioxidants). The results?
Compared to the control group of women who had no cocoa, the cocoa drinkers:
- had 15% less skin reddening after UV light exposure after six weeks of drinking the cocoa, and 25% less after 12 weeks
- experienced a doubling of blood flow in the skin in tissue 1 millimeter below the surface, and a 37.5% increase in tissue 7 to 8 mm deep
- had skin that was 16% denser, 11% thicker, 13% moister, 30% less rough and 42% less scaly, compared to the beginning of the study

The amount of flavanols in the study were the equivalent of a 3 oz bar of dark chocolate; think Lindt, for example. I plan to eat more chocolate than ever now, to protect my skin from all the sun exposure it's getting from swimming outdoors this summer. And I get less scaly skin thrown in as a door prize, nice!

Speaking of dark chocolate, I went to Toronto last week and visited a man who brings beans from all over the world to his magical Chocolate Laboratory and store. He roasts, then conches the beans on-site, then makes the most wonderful chocolates! Shout outs to David Castellan at Soma Chocolate!

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