Did you know that it’s World Chocolate Day on 7th July? Yes, the “food of the Gods”, which is made from the dried, fermented seeds of the Cacao Tree (Theobroma cacao) actually has it’s own celebration day to commemorate its introduction to Europe in 1550. Now that’s a pretty good excuse to indulge! Not forgetting that experts now say that chocolate is good for your health, and is even being touted as a superfood, due to the flavanols, anthocyanins and phenolic acids that it contains which are strong antioxidants. It’s also packed with Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9 and E, essential minerals including magnesium, calcium, sulphur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, plus beta-carotene, and omega 6 fatty acids. Chocolate has been shown to increase heart health by lowering blood pressure, increasing blood circulation and reducing clotting, thus effectively lowering the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. Additionally it improves brain function and helps to protect your cells from inflammation.
Good news eh? But before you break open that huge box of chocolates you should also understand that this applies to chocolate which is 70 percent cacao or more, and a maximum of 100g daily is recommended. On a minus side, chocolate still remains high in calories, since it contains sugar and saturated fats, so not so good if you struggle with your weight or if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Plus, if you start to reduce the cacao percentage, or add some fillings, the negatives start to outweigh the positives, although it will still reduce anxiety and boost endorphins – those feel good hormones in your brain.
Tempting as it may be to celebrate National Chocolate Day by eating (or possibly overindulging!) with chocolate, these same compounds that are so good for your health, also make it a complete powerhouse of nutrition to the skin.
So this National Chocolate Day why not indulge your skin instead of your stomach?
A powerful antioxidant
Studies have confirmed that chocolate (cocoa) is one of the richest sources of antioxidants, higher even than green tea. It will protect the skin against damage from free-radicals, protecting the skin’s cells and elastin, and also helping to increase blood flow and the regeneration of new skin cells, thus restoring a healthy appearance.
Protects against blue light
Blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light is the only part of light visible to the naked eye. It is believed to make up about 50% of the sunlight spectrum and is the reason that the sky appears blue. Although the majority of our exposure is from the sun, it is also emitted by LED bulbs, televisions and our personal devices such as smartphones and laptops. Natural daylight exposure to blue light from sunlight has a positive effect, stimulating alertness, improving memory and boosting the mood, however it has been known for some time that night time exposure has an adverse effect as it effects the circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake routine, and possibly eyesight.
Recent studies have also shown the damaging effect it has on our skin, and have demonstrated that it increases the level of DNA damage, photo-ageing, cell and tissue death and injury, and collagen breakdown, and disrupts the skin’s barrier by inducing oxidative stress. Blue light penetrates the skin deeper and damages essential proteins leading to increased wrinkles, a lack of skin elasticity and firmness, and is known to increase hyperpigmentation, in particular melasma, a condition which causes dark patches on the face, often on the cheeks, forehead and chin. One study even demonstrated that there was increased photo damage and pigmentation on the side of the face which the individual rested their phone. Scary right? Obviously the best way to avoid skin damage is to reduce exposure to blue light, so that means no personal devices, television or indoor lighting! Of course that isn’t going to happen, in today’s world there’s just no getting away from it. Luckily cacao, from which chocolate is made, is one of the best antioxidants to protect the skin from blue light. That’s reason enough to invest in chocolate cream, and to not skip moisturising!
Protects against sun damage
Chocolate doesn’t just protect against blue light, it also offers natural protection against harmful UV rays, helping to limit damage including pigmentation spots, cancers, burning and ageing. Note: whilst chocolate may protect against incidental exposure, it is not a replacement for SPF during prolonged exposure, but can offer enhanced protection when applied before your sun cream..
Thanks to the presence of theobromine (which acts as a vasodilator to increase the flow of blood to the skin’s surface) and vitamin E, chocolate can help to restore a more youthful appearance by minimising existing damage and helping to prevent premature ageing. It promotes cell growth and regeneration, stimulates collagen and elastin production, and by increasing blood flow, helps to promote healing and renewal. The overall effect is a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and a more radiant complexion. One study in Seoul National University in Korea confirmed that cacao increases blood flow and helps to regulate skin health and significantly reduce wrinkles, as well as improving skin density and hydration.
Moisturises and revives dull skin
Increased blood flow, skin renewal and deep nourishment provided from the fatty acids help to revive dull dry skin. Chocolate is an excellent source to restore the skin’s lipidic layer, reinforce the skin barrier, and reduce water loss, ensuring the skin is kept better hydrated for longer, and retains a healthy radiant glow.
Soothes skin irritation
Suitable for even the most sensitive of skins, chocolate is a natural anti-inflammatory, and can help to soothe any irritation, dispelling itching, dryness, swelling and redness, and is a panacea for skin ravaged by eczema or dermatitis. Zinc is also well known for its skin calming properties and for its acne fighting capabilities, helping to control oil production and clear the skin of the acne-causing bacteria.
Reduces scars, stretch marks and hyperpigmentation.
The same properties which help to reduce the signs of ageing by boosting cell turnover, collagen and elastin production, and regenerating the skin’s surface, also help to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks by increasing healing at a cellular level. Chocolate also helps to remedy hyperpigmentation.
Reduce the appearance of cellulite
By increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface, firming and toning the skin, and helping to break down adipose tissue, chocolate can improve the appearance of cellulite.
A wonderful aroma
The aroma of chocolate on your skin will stimulate the senses, reducing stress hormones, inciting feel good hormones and generating a sense of wellbeing.
Indulge your skin with the luxury of Nefertiti Chocolate Cream to protect against damage, rejuvenate and hydrate, and discover your best skin.