Scared of getting wrinkles? Cacao stops skin aging
A daily dose of 12 g phenol-rich cacao keeps skin young. Korean dermatologists at Seoul National University Boramae Hospital discovered that cacao makes women's wrinkles less deep and increases the elasticity of their skin. Their human study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, suggests that cacao diminishes the most important component of skin aging - the damage to skin caused by ultraviolet radiation.
The Koreans did their trial with two groups of 31 women. The women were aged 43-86 and signs of their skin aging could be seen in the corners of their eyes.
One group consumed a placebo every day for 24 weeks; the other group consumed 12 g a day of fat-free cacao powder made by the Belgian company Barry Callebaut. The powder provided the women with 320 mg cacao flavanols each day. The women dissolved the powder in hot water and drank the mixture.
By the way Callebaut did not fund the Korean study. The researchers were funded by the Korean government.
The elasticity of the skin of the women who had taken cacao during the experiment increased by a few percent and the depth of their wrinkles decreased slightly. In the placebo group the women's skin elasticity decreased and their wrinkles became a little deeper.
At the end of the supplementation period, the researchers exposed the women's skin to ultraviolet light and measured the intensity at which the skin started to be damaged. The intensity at which this happened was significantly higher in the women who had consumed cacao than in the women in the placebo group.
The most important component in skin aging is damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. Scientists call this photo-aging. It seems that the phenols in cacao inhibit this crucial process.
"The present study showed that 24 weeks of daily consumption of cocoa flavanols improved skin wrinkles and elasticity in human skin," the Koreans wrote. "Skin elasticity began to improve after 12 weeks of supplementation, and the effect was maintained while supplementation continued, for a total of 24 weeks."
"In conclusion, regular cocoa flavanol consumption may be a good strategy for prevention of the progression of skin photo-aging."
J Nutr. 2016 Jan;146(1):46-50.
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