Here’s one recommendation that few people will have difficulty following: for beautiful skin, be sure to eat chocolate often. Research says that chocolate increases protection from UV damage. In addition, chocolate dilates blood vessels, which increases blood flow and brings nutrients to the surface and deeper layers of the skin.
Antioxidant compounds called flavanols are responsible for the skin-beautifying benefits. Researchers also found that chocolate increases skin hydration, thickness, and smoothness. To provide sufficient flavanols, most experts recommend consuming only very dark chocolate, with at least 70 percent cacao. My favorite is Zenbunni http://www.zenbunni.com/kathmandu.html. Who knew being healthy could taste so good!
Chocolate comes from the bean of cacao fruit. Cacao beans have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Fresh cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidants — molecules that protect skin from environmental damage — containing 10,000 milligrams of flavanol antioxidants for every 100 grams of cacao. Compared to other foods, they’re among the best sources of antioxidants.
Why is Chocolate anti aging? loaded with antioxidants and free radical scavengers.
Just a few benefits…
- Raw chocolate has 723% more (or about 7 times more) antioxidants gram-per-gram than typical dark chocolate
- Tryptophan is found naturally in Raw chocolate, which enhances relaxation and promotes better sleep
- phenylethylamine (PEA) has a positive effect in enhancing feelings of love, and Raw chocolate has been proven to be an excellent source of PEA.
- Raw chocolate is the richest food source of magnesium of any common food. Magnesium is the number one mineral that assists and supports healthy heart functioning.
- Raw chocolate has a high level of Arginine, the aphrodisiac-like amino acid believed by body builders to build muscle and aid in recovery.
Recipe…courtesy of Cafe Gratitude (my favorite place to eat)
RAW CACAO FUDGE (makes 25 squares/35 balls)
1 cup raw cacao butter. (If asking for this at Whole Foods earns you a blank stare, head for the body care aisle and substitute a tub of 100% pure food grade cocoa butter.)
3 vanilla beans. (Individually boxed in the spice section.)
1 cup light agave syrup.
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs, finely ground.
8 1/2 oz raw cacao powder. (Cacao powder tends to be sold in 8 oz packages, so I added more nibs.)
3/4 cup raw almond butter.
1/2 tsp salt.
Melt cacao butter by placing jar in a bowl of warm water. Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise; thoroughly scrape insides and add to blender. Add melted cacao butter to the blender and blend until vanilla is broken down and feels warm. Pour into large mixing bowl; stir in salt, agave, and almond butter by hand. Grind cacao in clean coffee grinder (or mortar and pestle), add to bowl with cacao powder and stir by hand until smooth. (I also added about 1/2 cup dried tart cherries.)
Transfer mixture to an 8×8 pan lined with waxpaper, using a spatula to smooth the top. (The batter was very thick for me, so I shaped it into 1″ balls instead.) Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until hard.