Diet

4 Reasons to Add Eating Dark Chocolate to Your Beauty Routine

The cocoa bean isn't just delicious and good for you, it makes you prettier too

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Let's play a little trivia game. Eating chocolate causes skin breakouts, right?

If you said, "yes," do not pass GO, do not collect $200. Here's the rub (and the best news since Clooney's split from Stacy Kiebler): consuming dark chocolate -- the vitamin, antioxidant and mineral-rich cousin to the overly sugar-filled and processed Hershey bar -- is good for your skin. As an added bonus, dark chocolate also boasts other ancillary beauty -- as well as health -- benefits.

While it's been proven to improve brain function, help control blood sugar, lower your risk of getting cavities and protect against stroke and cardiovascular problems, research published in the Journal of Nutrition reveals the following beauty bonuses about consuming dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao):

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  • Protects skin from harmful UV rays: Flavonols (naturally occurring plant matter) found in dark chocolate have been scientifically proven to aid your skin in protecting itself from sunburn and other aspects of UV damage.

  • Moisturizes dry skin: Because it's loaded with iron, calcium and vitamins A, B1, C, D and E (among other skin-helping) nutrients, dark chocolate replenishes dry skin.

  • Helps to eradicate fine lines: Believe it or not, ingesting cocoa reduces stress hormones, which results in less collagen breakdown. And you thought feeling better after chomping a chocolate bar was psychosomatic.

  • Encourages hair growth: This kind of chocolate is chock full of iron, zinc and copper -- all minerals that support cell renewal. Eating it will boost the supply of blood flow and oxygen to your scalp which will result in stronger, thicker, more healthy hair.

  • Now, while this news is exciting and encouraging, don't think that it's a hall pass to cram chocolate down your throat all day, every day. The research indicates that in order to reap the beauty (and health) benefits of dark chocolate, your body requires between two and three ounces of it each week. That means eating roughly one small square of a typical bar daily will suffice. Sorry.

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