Chocolate: the health-boosting gift
A gift of chocolate is a huge treat – for you and your skin, ideally dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa). Simply eating it provides potent antioxidants in the form of flavonoids, omega 6 fatty acids, and some essential nutrients including vitamins A, B, D, E and K and minerals, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium and protein as well as potassium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, copper and magnesium and manganese (which helps nutrient absorption and sex hormone production – our love of chocolate is making sense now!).
Benefits include helping your heart and reducing risk of stroke, helping arthritis, keeping LDL (bad) cholesterol low and maintaining good eyesight (by improving blood flow to the brain, which will also improve cognitive function). Although it is sweet, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index so it can help balance blood sugar levels. For your skin, eating dark chocolate can mean a smoother, moist, well-nourished complexion and a beautiful glow as the endorphis released when we savour a little piece of chocolate help reduce stress.
The science bit …
If you still need convincing as to why we love chocolate so much, there’s a bit of science to it. Barry Smith, founding director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London, says ‘Chocolate is perceived by the brain to be a perfect food – the one food whose odour is exactly the same whether it comes through the nose or the mouth. It has an exact match of anticipation and reward, and the brain is very happy when what it wants is matched’.
Zero calorie indulgence
Wonderful though chocolate is, consuming too much can layer on the pounds. So, get the benefits without the calories by melting it into your skincare. In creams, the antioxidants in cocoa will reduce the number of free radicals in your skin meaning it stays soft and supple. Cocoa is one of the main ingredients in many anti-cellulite treatments. It can provide some UV protection, improve hydration and the essential fatty acids it contains help healing wounds and scars.
More skincare uses
Blend it into a scrub for great skin-detoxifying exfoliation. And you can use it on your hair too: Added to a shampoo it will promote blood circulation in the scalp which makes hair more lustrous and reduces hair loss; and it’s anti-inflammatory so can minimize scalp infections. It can improve overall hair health making it voluminous, soft and glossy.
Chocolate, but not as we know it
In skincare the more pure form of cacao is typically used, rather than chocolate. As it’s mixed with other ingredients we don’t get the full-on chocolate hit (which would likely be too sweetly sickly) but instead there can be much more subtle whispers of alluring chocolate, as used in some popular fragrances such as Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille and Jean Paul Gaultier’s Kokorico – it’d be a very special Christmas stocking if you found one of those.
You can Blend-it-Yourself right now
Click here for some simple-to-make skincare recipes which allow you indulge in chocolate from head to toe. (You may even trick your brain into believing you’ve had your chocolate snack as smelling the cocoa aroma will unleash the feel-good endorphins).