Sweet news! Chocolate is proven to boost your beauty in more ways than one.

Thanks to science, you may now sink your teeth into dark chocolate without guilt and reap some pretty major beauty and health rewards in the same bite.

CHOC UP SKIN REWARDS

Aren’t we glad that eating well doesn’t always mean a life sentence of salads (although greens and orange-red veggies and fruits are proven to do wonders for glowing skin too!).

As an ally in the fight against aging, chocolate Kisses may help you say “ta-ta” to wrinkles and sun spots, and “hello” to a dewy glow. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonols – a flavanoid antioxidant found in cocoa that boosts UV resistance, fend off damaging free radicals and improve blood circulation. In one study, flavonols in chocolate even improved skin hydration and thickness.

To add, chocolate is long known to promote release of feel-good neurochemicals to help combat your complexion’s worst public enemy – stress –which translates to less collagen breakdown.

The important point to note is that the only chocolate proven to deliver the beauty boost is dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content. So choose wisely, since most found on the supermarket candy aisle are low in the good stuff and high in hip-seeking sugars.

SIN TO SLIM

Another new and exhilarating research result choco-holics must hear: Adding a small, daily sweet indulgence together to your regular exercise-diet regime might actually get you skinny!

In a study by the University of California of over 1000 people, adults who ate chocolate five times a week had lower body mass index (BMI) than those who ate the sweet stuff less frequently. This finding proved true even after accounting for other factors, such as overall calorie intake (the regular choc-addicts were taking in more total calories) and daily activity (ie. it wasn’t simply due to the chocolate-eaters exercising more to torch the extra guilt).

Lead researcher, Dr Beatrice Golomb, believes that epicatechins, found in dark chocolate, help improve lean muscle mass and reduce weight as shown in previous rat studies. In fact, there’s a growing body of research that supports the idea that not all calories are created equal – it may be the composition of calories in foods, not just the total number of them, which determines how much of it is deposited as fat.

Other studies have also linked chocolate consumption to lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Chocolate may even help improve blood pressure, and lower the cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

While the picture of rich chocolate melting in your mouth simultaneously melting your waistline away is just too tempting, there remains lots of unanswered questions. Until more conclusive evidence is available, you should still exercise some restrain even if it’s a box of high-quality dark chocolate truffle.

Whatever it is, don’t we just love studies like this that “scientifically prove” that the little guilty indulgences we crave, are actually good for us? While we’re not entirely clear on who is funding this research, we salute you. Oh…in case you haven’t heard: Sex keeps you slim and young too.

By Othelia B