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Wednesday 5 September 2012

Could Chocolate Replace Sunscreen?

Need another excuse to gorge on chocolate? German researchers at the University of Düsseldorf have demonstrated that eating chocolate rich in cocoa solids and flavonoids (aka dark chocolate) can protect you from sun damage. And this is not about slathering the good stuff all over your body. It works only when you eat the chocolate since this releases antioxidants epicatechin and catechin that shield skin from the sun… yipppeeee!

Under 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 had just 27 milligrams per day. Another bonus for chocolate lovers? The women who ate more chocolate had smoother, more hydrated skin at the end of the experiment (16 percent denser, 11 percent thicker, 13 percent moister, 30 percent less rough, and 42 percent less scaly).

But here is the key question: Can you realistically add enough chocolate to your diet to reproduce these benefits? According to the researchers, it’s not that difficult: flavonoid quantities in the cocoa used for the experiment were “similar to those found in 100 grams (a little over 3 ounces) of dark chocolate”.

A word of caution, though: The study doesn’t claim that chocolate will provide adequate sun protection all on it’s own, so be sure slather on your broad-spectrum SPF while munching the sweet stuff on the side. That said, I declare this a good enough excuse to label my bittersweet indulgence as a therapeutic measure! So, tell me: what’s your favourite brand of dark chocolate? I need the suggestions to stock up for my skin!

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