Rather than beat yourself up for that holiday treat you couldn't resist, let's explore the benefits you might be enjoying! Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for your skin. More than 4,000 flavonoids have been identified, and hundreds of different types can exist in one food.
Studies in animals and humans have shown specific flavonoids can minimize adverse skin reactions caused by Ultra Violet Radiation (UVR). UVR can cause premature wrinkling, collagen breakdown, sun spots and other harmful side effects of free radical damage.
Good Sources include...
Flavonoids are found in certain fruits and green tea, as well as dark chocolate. The flavonoids in pine bark have been shown to contain more than twenty times the antioxidants of vitamin C and fifty times the antioxidants of vitamin E, but personally, I'd much rather eat a dark chocolate Hershey Kiss.
Cocoa beans offer an abundant amount of the phytonutrient, catechins. The darker and less processed the chocolate, the higher the concentration of catechins. Raw cocoa nibs, now readily available at grocery stores, are one of the least processed types of cocoa available but tend to taste bitter. When selecting chocolate for its catechin content, opt for dark varieties that have a cocoa content of 70 percent or more and the least grams of sugar. Stick to pure, dark chocolate that doesn't contain any add-ins like fruit, nuts or caramel as these will merely add unwanted calories and sugar.
How much should we eat?
The other hitch is that you reap the benefits with a daily dose of one to two ounces, or about 30 calories. Excessive sugar can have an adverse effect on the body and skin. Sugar can trigger inflammation, leading to joint pain, collagen breakdown, and increased acne.
Eat or Wear our Antioxidants?
Topical versus internal...flavonoid-rich foods will be broken down during the digestion process, decreasing the efficacy. Antioxidant-based skincare works collaboratively with your diet. Always use your antioxidant products in the morning, to help mitigate free radical damage caused by sun exposure. Serums and sunscreen that contain antioxidants will help boost your skin's ability to fight UV damage. (We love COOLA Organic Suncare, Rhonda Allison's Antioxidant Serum and C-Stem Serum.)
So, enjoy a little guilt-free sweet treat during the holidays. There will be plenty of other reasons to feel guilty for holiday imbibing...