Friday, 6 November 2009

Daily portion of chocolate 'protects against ageing'

We have posted before about the health pluses of eating chocolate daily. Nothing to do with the fact that I am a chocoholic of course.

But the latest research, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, is believed to be the first showing a chocolate treat can prevent against the visible signs of ageing.

Researchers at European Dermatology London, a private Harley Street skin clinic, recruited 30 healthy adults, including 22 women, with an average age of 42.

For three months, half the volunteers ate a daily portion of 20 grammes of dark chocolate droplets that were very high in flavanol.

The remainder ate identical-looking chocolate drops that had much lower flavanol content.

During the three-month experiment, researchers regularly exposed volunteers to controlled doses of UV light to see how long it took before their skin reacted by becoming inflamed.

The results showed that, among those on low-flavanol chocolate, there was no change in the amount of UV light their skin could tolerate.

But among those on the high-flavanol droplets, there was a significant improvement in the skin's resistance to the sun's effects.

In a report on their findings the researchers said: 'Our study revealed, for the first time, that high-flavanol chocolate protects the skin from harmful UV effects.

'The main mechanism is likely to be the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of cocoa flavanols.

'But conventional chocolate had no such effect.'

Previous studies have found flavanol-rich dark chocolate can lower the risk of blood clots, protect against bowel cancer and even help prevent premature births.

Earlier this year, Swedish scientists also reported that heart attack victims who snacked on dark chocolate at least twice a week slashed their risk of dying from heart disease by about 70 per cent.

Not quite such good news for someone like me who largely eats milk chocolate!

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