What to know about chocolate
When you hear about the benefits of chocolate, remember that the chocolate under discussion is dark. Dark chocolate refers to the semisweet or bittersweet chocolate made by combining sugar and fat with cocoa. Unlike the chocolate used in most popular treats, dark chocolate contains little or no milk (and is also devoid of caramel, peanut butter or any other delicious, but fattening additions). The key health-boosting ingredient in chocolate is the cocoa, which contains cocoa flavonoids, plant compounds that possess beneficial properties. Dark chocolate possesses a higher concentration of cocoa.
The potential benefits
So, keeping in mind that we mean dark chocolate and that we’re ultimately talking about the cocoa, what can chocolate do?
Skin health: It may help protect your skin. The flavonoids have been shown to protect against sun damage, increase blood flow and rehydrate parched skin
Brain health: The very same flavonoids that are good for your skin may also mean good news for brain health by increasing blood flow (due to the presence of stimulating substances like caffeine).
Heart health: Acting as antioxidants, flavonoids can protect against free radicals, improve the function of blood vessel lining, lower blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind
What our heart doctor says
Cardiologist Dr Marwan Jumean warns, however, that not all studies have proven these beneficial effects, in part because the frequency and amount of chocolate needed are not clearly defined. Ultimately, chocolate is still chocolate, made solid by adding fat and sugar. Furthermore, certain heart conditions such as SVT call for refraining from caffeine, which all chocolate contains. Still, though not a heart-healthy supplement that Dr Jumean recommends routinely to his patients, dark chocolate can be a guilt-free option that may help maintain or even promote cardiovascular health!
Glow With Chocolate!
Our beauty expert, Zina Snobar, shares her homemade skin care recipes:
Chocolate body scrub: Mix olive oil, brown sugar and cocoa powder and use as a scrub on your
body to remove dead skin.
Chocolate face mask: Mix yoghurt, honey and dark
cocoa powder in equal parts and spread on your face
and neck for smooth, wrinkle-free skin. Chocolate also
contains caffeine, which acts as a de-puffing ingredient.
Plumping lip scrub: Mix brown sugar, honey, olive oil
and cinnamon and rub into lips for plumper, softer lips.