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Cocoa: a little indulgence goes a long way toward healthy skin.

When it comes to the benefits of cocoa, researchers keep raising the bar. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, consuming cocoa helps increase skin appearance and improves blood flow. The study was funded by Mars Inc., which provided the flavanol-based cocoa products. Based on the assumption that antioxidants contribute to photoprotection and maintenance of skin health via its flavanol content, researchers assigned two groups of women to consume either a high flavanol (326 mg per day) or low flavanol (27 mg per day) cocoa powder dissolved in 100 mL of water for 12 weeks. The flavanols epicatechin and catechin were the major components in the preparations given to both groups. Following exposure of selected skin areas to 1.25 times the minimal erythemal dose of radiation from a solar simulator, UV-induced erythema was significantly decreased in the high flavanol group by 15% and 25% after six and 12 weeks of treatment, respectively, whereas no change occurred in the low flavanol group. More specifically, the ingestion of high flavanol cocoa led to increases in blood flow of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues, and to increases in skin density and hydration. There was also a significant decrease in skin roughness and scaling in the high flavanol group. Researchers concluded that high-flavanol cocoa contributes to endogenous photo-protection, improves dermal blood circulation, and affects cosmetically relevant skin surface and hydration variables. Previous studies have also shown flavanols to be beneficial for circulation and other heart-related issues.

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Title Annotation:Market Watch
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:246
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