The best kind of chocolate you can eat is called Raw Cacao. It is the purest form of cocoa, with no added sugar, providing all the health benefits but without the nasties! However, as you can imagine it doesn’t taste that good, so we’re happy with top quality dark chocolate. Be careful though, there are bad sides as well as good…
Among many minerals and vitamins; Iron and Vitamins A and E can be found in Dark chocolate. Iron is needed to transport oxygen around your body, keeping you focused and energised. However it also helps to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. Dark Chocolate is also high in plant substances called flavonoids that help keep platelets less sticky, and relaxes blood vessels increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure. This is what can create a dewy glow.
It all seems too good to be true? Well, to a certain extent it is. Portion control is a huge factor in the debate around dark chocolate. Two to three ounces a week is enough to get the health benefits, but any more than that and you are absorbing the fat and sugar too. So, it is essential to only consume the smallest amount or the benefits are reversed. Research has shown that those with higher blood sugar levels looked older than those with low blood sugar. This is because sugar causes glycation damage in the skin which reduces the effectiveness of elastin and collagen, the properties which give skin a youthful, plump appearance.
Another magical property of chocolate is its ability to shield against harmful UV rays. Studies concluded that the flavonoids found in Dark chocolate can help your skin to protect itself from sunburn, redness and other signs of UV damage. A recent study by a group of London scientists found that those who consumed 20 grams of dark chocolate for 12 weeks were able to be exposed to sun, without burning, for twice as long as those who had eaten none. They also noted that there was a thickening in skin, an increase in hydration and an improvement in microcirculation; three factors which provide youthful, plump skin.
However, it isn’t all sweetness and light. ‘Dark’ Chocolate found on the high street is usually only 50% Cocoa. In order to reap the benefits of dark chocolate, the concentration of cacao needs to be at least 70%, and the higher the better. Commercially available dark chocolate is still high in saturated fat and sugar, and doesn’t contain the same anti-oxidising properties. The lower the percentage of Cocoa, the less of the superfood ‘cacao’ it contains. Milk and White chocolate barely contain any at all and therefore do not provide any health benefits.
In addition to this, Acne sufferers need to stay clear of milk, including dairy products. As milk chocolate has a higher amount of milk in than dark chocolate, it is obviously bad news! Milk is full of natural growth hormones which are intended to help the calves develop. A study in the United States showed that women who consumed two glasses of milk per week were 44% more likely to develop acne than those who drank one glass of milk or less.