Eating dark chocolate can prevent signs of ageing
It sounds too good to be true, but scientists have found that nibbling a bit of chocolate each day can prevent signs of ageing caused by the sun and may even lower the risk of skin cancer.
However, bear in mind that these benefits come only from dark chocolate high in flavanols.
These are the antioxidants – compounds known to prevent cell damage – found naturally in cocoa beans, the main ingredient in chocolate. But most chocolate goods on sale in the UK have had their antioxidant capacity greatly reduced during processing.
Previous studies have found flavanol-rich dark chocolate can lower the risk of blood clots, protect against bowel cancer and even help prevent premature births.
Researchers found that the skin of volunteers who ate dark chocolate high in flavanols was more resistant to the damaging effects of UV light than those who didn’t. Their report said: ‘High-flavanol chocolate protects the skin from harmful UV effects. The main mechanism is likely to be the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of cocoa flavanols. But conventional chocolate had no such effect.’
Dr Nick Lowe, a spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists, said the study showed ‘very interesting and important findings’.