© Getty Images

© Getty Images

Christmas chocolate can actually be good for your skin

Great news for all those chocoholics this season!

While we never really need an excuse to indulge in some chocolate during the Christmas period, studies show that eating chocolate in moderation (moderation being the key word!) can be good for our skin. Get unwrapping...

Science is on your side

You know that happy feeling you get as you nibble on a piece of chocolate? Well, it's a scientific fact that chocolate not only encourages your body to increase the calming neurotransmitter serotonin, but it also (thanks to the compound phenylethylamine) stimulates the brain to produce dopamine, the happy chemical. And when you feel good, your skin is less likely to flare up and you'll look good too!

All the way back in 2006, German research showed that the flavonoids (a nutrient group of plant chemicals including quercetin, kaempferol, catechins, and anthocyanidins) in dark chocolate help protect the skin against UV rays, preventing premature fine lines and wrinkles. However, that doesn't mean you can skip the sunscreen!

Bonus health benefits

Flavonoids - which are some of skin’s best friends – are also thought to have other health benefits, too. Studies have shown that these compounds, found in the seeds of the cacao plant from which the delicious treat is made, are antioxidants and could have benefits for the heart. An Italian study in 2005 concluded that chocolate reduced blood pressure and increased insulin production, which is good news for those with diabetes.

All of the studies agreed that the chocolate with the most powerful skin and health benefits is dark chocolate. However, you only need a small amount of chocolate to reap the rewards, so try to resist going on a chocolate binge (we know it’s hard!).

Embrace the spirit of the holiday season and share a little health and happiness with friends and family with a bar of chocolate or a big cup of hot cocoa.

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