Benefits of Cocoa
We usually think of chocolate as a delicious diet-destroying indulgence – and rarely consider its health benefits. It is easy to forget that its key ingredient, cocoa, is a natural product that is packed with active materials that might be very protective for the skin.
Cocoa is made by fermenting and drying the seeds of the cacao tree. It was the basis of a drink enjoyed by the Aztecs. It was first introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the fifteenth century. Since then new uses for it have continued to be found. We are also still learning about what it contains and what it can do.
Cocoa is rich in antioxidants, richer than red wine or green tea. Work published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2006 concentrated on a group of antioxidants known as flavanols. They showed that a group of women given a flavanol-rich cocoa drink showed 15% less reddening of the skin when exposed to UV light.
One possible explanation for this result is that the antioxidant properties of the flavanols give the skin extra protection against free radicals. Free radicals are the reactive forms of oxygen generated when UV light hits the skin. It is well established that the aging of the skin caused by sunlight is mostly the result of damage to the skin’s proteins produced by these free radical.
Cocoa extracts known to act as a vasodilator increasing the flow of blood to the surface of the skin. This increased blood flow could stop the skin drying out in the way it characteristically does when you get sun-burnt.
Cocoa extracts are bursting with omega-6 fatty acids to work with your skin to heal the look of skin damage and alleviate sun damage and slow down aging.