Just in case you need another excuse to eat chocolate, German researchers at the University in Düsseldorf have demonstrated that ingesting certain types of chocolate rich in cocoa solids and flavonoids (aka: dark chocolate) can, indeed, protect and fight against skin cancer, the Journal of Nutrition reports.
The study was comprised of 24 women who were given chocolate to add to their breakfasts for 3 months. Half drank hot cocoa containing a hefty dose of flavonoids at 326 milligrams per day. The rest received cocoa that looked and tasted the same, but had relatively little flavonoid content at 27 milligrams per day.
The women who consumed the higher dosage had decreased sensitivity to UV light versus the participants who ingested the lesser. Furthermore, the women who consumed the flavanol-rich cocoa found their skin to be 16 percent denser, 11 percent thicker, 13 percent moister, 30 percent less rough, and 42 percent less scaly than it was at the beginning of the experiment.
The key is the superfood must be consumed so the antioxidants epicatechin and catechin can shield skin from the sun, where UV exposure leads not only to impaired immunity and accelerated aging in skin, but also to cancer, especially in light-skinned people.
The researchers also found in a previous study that cooked tomato products can limit UV-induced skin reddening when ingested.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that chocolate will completely provide adequate UV protection all on it’s own, so be sure to still be slathering on your all-protective SPF while you munch on the sweet stuff on the side.