Despite being given a bad reputation by the diet industry, chocolate is actually a wonderful gift from nature. Now, when I say chocolate, I’m referring to the main ingredient used in what we know as chocolate, and that is cacao. Rumors that chocolate causes “bad skin” or breakouts are probably more tied up in the excess dairy and sugar present in most forms of edible chocolate – and not in the presence of cacao which is a very healthful and beneficial substance. In fact, when compared to many other foods, cacao stands out as hugely rich in antioxidants. And, as you probably already know – antioxidants are some of the most powerful substances we have for combating the signs of aging and maintaining healthful, radiant, youthful skin.
When we look for ingredients and foods rich in antioxidants, chocolate is often overlooked. This is unfortunate, as chocolate contains more polyphenols and flavanols than many other plant-based foods that are deemed “super fruits” in the nutrition industry. Blueberries and acai berries are popular trend fruits that are touted for their antioxidant benefits, but studies have shown that dark chocolate and cocoa powder actually contain higher antioxidant activity than both blueberries and acai berries!
Chocolate contains more polyphenols and flavanols than many other plant-based foods that are deemed “super fruits” in the nutrition industry.
Chocolate (cacao) is also rich in minerals including magnesium, copper, and potassium and iron. Magnesium is the most prominent mineral in cacao, and magnesium is a mineral the body just can’t do without. Aside from its many other benefits and roles in the body, magnesium has been shown to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, clear pimples, and relieve allergic skin conditions.
Now, before you run out and start indulging on loads of chocolate goodies, cakes, pies, and candy bars – keep in mind that we’re discussing cacao here. We aren’t discussing the sugar-rich, dairy-rich chocolate products lining the grocery store and bakery shelves. Excess sugars and dairy products can create significant skin issues in some people. It is not the sugar nor the dairy itself that is the problem, but instead how our bodies often react to excess amounts of these foods in the diet. When consuming chocolate, the best route is to look for the highest quality and darkest chocolate you can tolerate. People with an extreme sweet tooth often find milk chocolate products more tasty, but dark chocolate is a far healthier option.
When consuming chocolate, the best route is to look for the highest quality and darkest chocolate you can tolerate.
Topically, cocoa can be used in a variety of skin care preparations. I personally love the use of chocolate in skin exfoliators and polishers along with aromatic antioxidant mists and facial masks either in clay or cream bases depending on the skin I am working with. Cocoa is well-tolerated by most skin types and do I even have to mention the amazing aromatherapy this lovely ingredient provides? So, the next time you hear chocolate getting a bad rap for causing skin problems, don’t be so quick to jump on the anti-chocolate bandwagon. There’s a little more to that story, as you’ve learned in this article, and our oh-so-tasty, amazing smelling chocolate friend really is not the enemy! In fact, chocolate is our skin’s friend – it’s just those two guys (sugar and dairy) he runs around with all the time that can bring along some problems.