Study links chocolate to healthy skin

May 17, 2006 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Study links chocolate to healthy skin

Recent study findings from researchers at the Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf suggest that cocoa beverages and foods rich in flavanols could thicken the skin and reduce redness by up to 25 percent.

To study the effects of the flavanol-rich chocolate, researchers supplemented the regular diet of 24 female participants with either a high flavanol (326 mg per day) or low flavanol (27 mg per day) cocoa drink.

During the 12-week study period, the participants were advised to continue their normal diets, although no dietary supplements were to be taken. Sunbathing and the use of tanning beds were forbidden during the study period.

On three separate occasions the skin of study participants was exposed to 1.25 times the UV radiation required to cause redness on the skin.

Researchers found that the study participants who received the high flavanol cocoa beverage had a reduction in skin response to the UV radiation. Overall, participants receiving the high flavanol beverage had decreased sensitivity to UV light.

In addition to reduced sensitivity, the group receiving the high flavanol beverage also experienced increased blood flow to the skin, improved skin texture, increased skin density and thickness. No changes were seen in the low-flavonal group.

Further studies are needed to determine the mechanism by which the cocoa flavanols improve the skin.

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