For some of us, healthy foods may not be very popular. As a child, I remember my grandmother forcing my siblings and I to eat an entire spoonful of honey. Her motto was, a spoonful of honey keeps the doctor away. At that age, honey was the most disgusting thing you could eat. However, when it comes to chocolate, there’s no arm twisting required. The different types and sizes on the market indicate that we can’t seem to get enough of it. But not all chocolate is equal, so you need to pick wisely.
Milk and white chocolate contain sugar and unhealthy fats which are detrimental to healthy skin. Most of the chocolates containing caramel, nougat and sweet fillings, contain too much sugar to be beneficial. Healthy chocolate should contain at least 70 per cent cocoa.
· Dark chocolate contains healthy fats – rather than causing weight gain, these healthy fats work to keep your skin hydrated and youthful.
· Dark chocolate contains antioxidants – it is among the foods with the highest level of antioxidants. It contains phenols, flavanols, catechins, among others. These antioxidants protect our cells from premature oxidation thereby keeping our skin youthful.
· Dark chocolate may improve blood flow – The compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries thereby improving circulation. Better blood flow to the skin results in healthier, glowing skin.
· Dark Chocolate may protect your skin against the sun – Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can protect the skin against sun-induced damage by absorbing UV light.
Chocolate in skincare
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Although most of us are familiar with cocoa butter, we may not have used actual cocoa powder on our skin. When choosing chocolate for your skin, use chocolate that contains the highest cocoa content that you can find, such as cooking chocolate, or natural cocoa powder. The cocoa powder you use should not contain sugar or artificial ingredients. Using chocolate on your skin can help stimulate circulation and heal inflammation.
Here are 3 ways to use chocolate in your skincare.
· Chocolate mask – You could make your own chocolate face mask by mixing one tablespoon of cocoa powder, with one teaspoon of honey and natural yoghurt. Apply on a clean face and wash off after 10 minutes.
· Chocolate body scrub – mix one cup of brown sugar with ¾ cup coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Make sure the coconut oil is soft enough to mix. Any leftover scrub can be stored up for a few months.
· Chocolate body butter – mix 4 tablespoons of Shea butter with one tablespoon of olive oil, 10 drops of orange essence, and one tablespoon of cocoa powder. Whisk together until combined and store in an airtight container.
Step 1 – Cleanse skin
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Cleanse your face or entire body and pat dry.
Step 2 – Scrub
Apply the chocolate scrub your face or body, avoiding the eye area. Gently massage in a circular motion for a few minutes. The sugar exfoliates the skin while the chocolate and coconut add moisture.
Step 3 – Rinse
Wash off and pat dry.
Step 4 – Mask
Apply the chocolate mask and allow to dry for 10-15minutes.
Step 5 – Moisturize
Rinse off and moisturize skin with the chocolate butter.
You can buy raw cocoa locally and mix it with your skincare as well as injesting it as part of a healthy lifestyle. Remember, when it comes to consuming chocolate, moderation is key.