By Chere Di Boscio
Have you noticed that many superfoods, from acai to goji berries, avocado to blueberries, are actually quite tasty? Perhaps the tastiest one of all is actually….chocolate.
Yes, that’s right! Your favourite indulgence is actually good for you. Study after study proves that dark chocolate is good for more than curing PMS or a broken heart.
The secret behind its powerful punch is the cacao bean, also the source of the treat’s distinctive taste. Packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine, this little bean is one disease-killing, mood-lifting bullet.
Five Proven Benefits of Eating Chocolate
1. Chocolate is full of minerals–specifically, zinc, copper, manganese and iron, which help with energy levels, hair growth and skin repair.
2. It is good for your heart: in various studies, it has increased ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and lowered bad LDL in men with elevated cholesterol. Moreover, those who consume dark chocolate a few times a week are over 50% less likely to suffer from heart disease than those who don’t indulge.
3. The anti-oxidant Polyphenols in chocolate fight free radicals that attack your skin, thus giving chocolate an anti-ageing quality.
4. Flavanols in chocolate protect skin from the sun’s rays and reduce the severity of burns, meaning it has a slight SPF!
5. But the good news doesn’t end there. As many of us who use chocolate to enhance our moods know, the sweet is good for your head. It stimulates blood flow to the brain, elevating mood and improving cognitive function.
Mind you, the milk, sugar, and cacao butter added to bitter dark chocolate actually reverse the benefits—so make sure yours is as dark as possible. Stick to healthy chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao (or cocoa, which is cacao in its roasted, ground form), and to avoid gaining weight, don’t eat more than 50g a day. Or, if you’d still like to harness the beauty benefits of cacao without the calories, try chocolate based beauty products, like those below.
Eat yourself pretty with this collagen boosting chocolate bar! Dark chocolate and chaga mushroom extract–one of the world’s most anti-oxidising ingredients–ensure your skin is protected from any pollution, sun, or toxins, and added collagen gives your skin extra radiance. Oh, and this chunky, melt-in-your-mouth treat tastes delicious, too!
This creamy, delectable scrub with anti-oxidant cacao and refreshing peppermint oils promotes collagen and elastin production by increasing circulation within the skin’s cells. Smells amazing while you massage it in, giving you a little aromatherapy boost in the shower.
3. Amala Rejuvenate Cocoa Bean Advanced Firming Complex
This lovely cream goes on light, is easily absorbed and comes housed in a lovely, frosted glass jar. But best of all, it’s amazing for your skin! Certified organic, Fair Trade cocoa beans are rich in collagen-boosting plant peptides to stimulate microcirculation, restore elasticity, fight inflammation, and provide antioxidant protection. Natural Hyaluronic Acid from wheat and beetroot smoothes, firms, and hydrates skin. Another exotic ingredient, Inca inchi seed, is loaded with Omega-3s to combat inflammation and fight aging from free radical damage. And of course, it smells as delicious as you’d expect.
This sugary chocolate scrub gently buffs away dead skin cells, removes impurities, and nourishes skin, all using the benefits of the antioxidants in Acai and Cocoa, which restore, repair, and protect skin, while Babacu oil conditions and moisturises skin. Organic, Fair Trade sugar gently exfoliates and aids cell turnover.
Who wouldn’t want a delicious organic lip balm to moisturise, replenish and protect lips? Organic cocoa butter and almond oil condition and moisturise your kisser while the flavonol antioxidants in organic cocoa powder protect against sun and environmental damage. As an added bonus, organic honey acts as a humectant to retain moisture for kissable lips.
Packed with luxurious nourishing ingredients, vitamins and powerful anti-aging antioxidants, this Thesis Chocolatier’s Gift organic body scrub instantly makes your skin soft, smooth, healthy, glowing and vibrant. Enhanced with antioxidant rich organic cacao, this 100% organic chocolate body scrub is perfect for skin renewal and regeneration, and contains absolutely zero nasties!
High street beauty brand Lush have jumped on the chocolate bandwagon with their Cupcake Facial Mask. Scented like a rich, gooey chocolate batter, this messy mud mask features all natural ingredients (some of them organic), and a deeply detoxifying linseed infusion to nourish and soften the skin. There’s also fresh mint for toning, cocoa butter to moisturise and rhassoul mud to absorb grease and give a deep cleanse.
Housed in a thick glass jar, this Chocolate Cleansing Balm smells almost good enough to eat. It’s a super gentle and luxurious facial cleanser rich in organic botanical oils and butters. This balm is made to be used with a soft cloth (included with the product) to effectively remove makeup and grime from the skin. In the jar, it’s kind of solid – think coconut oil, for example. But when mixed with warm water in the palm and applied with the cloth, it turns into a creamy ‘chocolate milk’ cleanser that helps reduce redness and inflammation while it cleans the delicate facial skin. Packed with raw organic Cacao Extract, Green Tea, Açaí Berry and Rosehip oil, this cleanser smells like chocolate truffles and is packed with potent antioxidants to help combat impurities, toxins and fight free radical damage, protecting against the causes of ageing.
Soapmaker Samantha Teng’s love of baking and passion for organic products led her to create a soap brand that includes mouthwatering scents like Almond Latte and Chocolate Cream Pie. Inspired by cupcakes she sees in local bakeries, she uses natural cacao butter as a staple and says “Natural soaps are important to me because our skin is our largest organ, and what you put on your skin absorbs in a matter of seconds. Certain preservatives and chemicals can stay in our bodies for a very long time…our body is our temple, and we should treat it with love and respect. A good way to start is by switching to natural products.”
We couldn’t agree more. Our bodies are our temples, and that’s why the majority of the chocolate we consume will be externally!
This brand takes the science behind the anti-ageing qualities of chocolate pretty seriously. According to its website: “Dark chocolate’s Cocoa Polyphenols Crystals are incorporated in proprietary Astacelles (more on this later) to deliver a unique antioxidant combination of actives against free radicals.”
Turns out Astacelles come from Astaxanthin, a natural extract derived from algae and Cocoa Epicatechin (Polyphenols) – which are then sealed and protected by unique Astacelle technology which guarantees efficacy and natural taste. Developed by a spinoff from Cambridge University, Esthechoc is the result of 10 years of extensive independent research on cocoa polyphenols and free radicals, as well as clinical exploration and numerous trials.
No idea how this one tastes, but it certainly sounds well researched and effective. One bar a day is recommended to produce the desired results. Sounds just like what the doctor ordered!
This handmade raw chocolate bar couldn’t be healthier: it uses unheated, unprocessed organic Cacao which preserves all the nutrients present in the bean and ensures a chocolate with maximum anti-oxidant potency reaches you. A good dose of superberries is added to the blend: Goji, Acai, Blueberries and Cranberries–to increase the free-radical fighting effects of the chocolate. Finally, this bar is vegan friendly and sugar free, using agave syrup for sweetness instead of sugar.
Winner of Viva!’s special 20th anniversary award for Best Vegan Toiletries/Cosmetic Products, this organic skin cream smells simply delicious! MuLondon’s Decadent White Chocolate Truffle face moisturiser uses organic Shea butter and Jojoba oil as well as extracts of Cocoa and pure Bourbon Vanilla to made a rich, creamy, hydrating product for the face or body. They’ve also made an even richer version for those drier parts of the body: elbows, knees and heels.
Main image: Wikicommons