Dark Secrets

Have you been getting dark chocolates as gifts this festive season or planning to gift some, go ahead as it’s great for health. Good news for chocolate lovers! Here’s why dark chocolate is healthy and the many benefits it has for your skin, hair, and overall health.

Dedicated to dark chocolate?

Reap the benefits of this delicious treat, and it’s easy to overeat it so you have to be careful. Dark chocolate consists of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar with little or no milk, semi-sweet with a slightly bitter flavour due to its high cocoa and less sugar composition.

Antioxidants: Cocoa-rich dark chocolate has abundant organic compounds like polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, and most importantly antioxidants.Minerals: Dark chocolate has about fibre besides has plenty of phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc. 

Dark Chocolate For Skin: Eat dark chocolate as is, or add it to your hot cocoa drinks or even use it as a topical beauty pack, here’s how it works for your skin.

Protects from sun damage: Eating dark chocolate may give you a smooth skin texture, lesser skin redness when exposed to the sun, and greater skin hydration. Flavonoids in chocolate help keep harmful UV rays off your skin, prevents sunburn and even skin cancer or discolouration.

Prevents premature ageing: Dark chocolate helps reduce dark spots and pigmentation and keeps skin radiant and healthy. It also works to keep skin hydrated, improves collagen, elasticity, boosts circulation further delaying fine lines and wrinkles.

Promotes cell growth: Essential minerals present in dark chocolate like copper, iron, and zinc promote cell growth, nourish the skin, keeps it younger. It also detoxifies skin and removes dead skin cells, giving a fresh look.

Heals skin: Dark chocolate is enriched with minerals that promote cell healing, providing smooth skin, also lightens skin scars and blemishes.

Cocoa mask

Reduces stress: High levels of stress can wreak havoc on your skin. Magnesium, suppresses the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Dark chocolate contains ample magnesium, it helps reduce stress, prevents collagen breakdown, keeping skin healthy. Magnesium also helps you sleep better, vital for healthy skin.

Reduces inflammation: Flavanols in dark chocolate help reduce inflammation, aiding skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, besides keeping the skin look youthful.

Dark chocolate has tremendous benefits for the scalp and hair too!

Increases hair volume: Minerals like copper, iron, and zinc in dark chocolate improves cell growth and blood flow to the skin and scalp, giving way to transfer of nutrients to the cells, to get healthier, stronger crowning glory, fighting hair loss.

Improves hair quality: Nutrients in dark chocolate boosts hair growth and improves the texture of your tresses by adding strength to each strand and making them thicker and prevents scalp infections or sun damage.

DIY Masks to let your skin and hair indulge in chocolatey goodness

1. Mix a tablespoon each of cocoa powder and honey and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Apply to your face and wash off after 15-20 minutes.2. Melt two dark chocolate bars and mix in little milk, few tablespoons of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of salt. Allow the mixture to cool down, then apply on face evenly. Rinse after 15-20 minutes.

3. Take half a cup of melted dark chocolate and mix in two tablespoons of Fuller’s earth or avocado. Let cool and apply warm onto skin. Rinse with water once dry.

4. Mix cocoa powder and heavy cream in equal quantities to make a paste. Apply on face and rinse after 20 minutes.

5. Melt a bar of dark chocolate and mix in a tablespoon of gram flour, a teaspoon of curd, and juice of half a lemon. Apply the mixture on your face and rinse after 30 minutes.

6. Blend a cup each of strawberry and watermelon, a banana, and 50 gm melted dark chocolate. Apply the mix on your face and wash off with warm water after 15-20 minutes.

7. Make a scrub by mixing half a cup of cocoa powder, 2-3 tablespoons of oatmeal, and a teaspoon each of honey and cream. Massage onto face and neck gently using circular motions. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.

8. Make a peel off mask by mixing 4-5 tablespoons each of cocoa powder and honey, and two tablespoons of brown sugar. Apply the thick paste over your face and let dry. Peel off gently and rinse with water.

9. For smooth, luscious locks: Mash a ripe banana and mix in 3-4 cubes of melted dark chocolate and a teaspoon of honey. Once the mixture cools down, apply to the length of your hair, avoiding the roots. Wrap hair in cling film and leave on for 30-45 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water and use a mild shampoo.

10. For voluminous hair: Mix 3-4 cubes of melted dark chocolate with half a cup of yoghurt and half a tablespoon of honey. Avoiding the scalp, apply the warm mix to your hair. Wash with water and mild shampoo after 30 minutes.

Dark chocolate for body health

Boosts heart health: Flavonoids in dark chocolate avert aging that lead to heart disease and keeps arteries healthy.

Reduces cholesterol: Eating dark chocolate has been found to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.

Maintains blood pressure: Minerals like copper and magnesium in dark chocolate manage blood pressure and keep it normal.

Balances blood sugar: Dark chocolate is known to reduce insulin resistance, which plays a vital role in maintaining blood sugar levels.

Cures anaemia: The flavonoid content of dark chocolate, along with other iron-rich foods can act as a cure for anaemia.

Prevents stroke: Flavonoids such as epicatechin are known to offer protection to the brain against strokes.

Improves eyesight: There could be clarity of vision after the consumption of dark chocolate as cocoa flavanols enhance the availability of oxygen and nutrients to the blood vessels of the eye or retina.

Boosts cognitive function: The nutrients in dark chocolate increase blood flow to the brain, thereby boosting memory, improving problem-solving skills, and helping with attention span and reaction time. The caffeine in chocolate is a brain booster, improving memory, concentration, and mood.
Beauty expert- Sheena Ray opines, “Steer clear of bingeing on dark chocolate for its beauty and health benefits. Indulge however eating a piece (under 30 gm) of dark chocolate per day can help you reap the maximum benefits of its nutrients. Apply the chocolate as masks for natural glow and lustre”.

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