Chocolate makes you look younger 'by preventing wrinkles': Study

If you've ever wanted an excuse to eat chocolate, this could be it - it might be keeping you looking young.

Boffins have worked out that cacao beans - a key ingredient in chocolate - have an added anti-ageing benefit.

Chocolate, health benefits
Representational picture

In fact, they believe that they actually help to prevent wrinkles.

It is already known that cacao beans contain a cocktail of naturally occurring phytochemicals that protect against certain diseases.

Now a new study suggests cacao could also have "significantly" reduce wrinkles on the skin caused by exposure to the sun.

Researchers report that the cocoa extract may offer a protective effect against wrinkles or dark spots on the skin by halting the breakdown of the dermal matrix, which leads to an overall reduction in wrinkle formation.

Scientists from Seoul National University in Korea tested cacao powder on hairless mice over eight weeks and found a significant reduction in wrinkles on their skin caused by exposure to the sun.

In tests, a total of 788 genes were improved followed the application of cacao powder, compared to mice whose skin was exposed to normal sun light.

Chocolate contains antioxidants which fight conditions like heart disease, cancer and other long term illnesses.Experts say cacao beans have higher levels of antioxidants than green tea and red wine.

Recent studies have shown chocolate consumption can boost health, including improving skin condition.Now scientists say cacao boosts skin by increasing blood flow and improving skin density and hydration.

Skin wrinkling is a typical characteristic of ageing resulting from long-term exposure to the sun, which breaks down collagen fibres.

The Korean team found cacao contains chemicals which inhibit this long-term affect and reduce wrinkle formation by a "significant" amount.

In the trial mice whose skin was stained with cacao powder were shown to have higher levels of collagen than those in a control group.

The study team said: "UVB-induced wrinkle formation was markedly reduced in the groups administered with cacao powder.

"The findings are published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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