Food Friday: Eat Chocolate for Sun Protection

Studies show that dark chocolate, high in flavonols, provide some protection against damaging UV rays.

Chocolat de Bonnat tasting

Planning a Caribbean get-away this winter? Don’t forget to pack some hot chocolate.

Several studies, including a well known one 2006 German researchers have shown that dark chocolate beverages high in flavonols (plant-based antioxidants), may have protective properties against damaging UV rays. In the study, they compared two groups of women. One drank flavonol-rich chocolate beverages  while the other drank a less potent chocolate beverage. When both groups were exposed to UV-light, those who drank the richer chocolate beverage suffered the least sunburn.

A 2009 study published in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology similarly found that regular consumption of chocolate high in flavonols offered some protection against sun’s damaging rays.

What’s the sweet spot for protection? 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate was found to provide an SPF of 2 or 3. While that’s better than no protection, it certainly is not enough to adequately protect you from sun damage.

Since chocolate doesn’t list the amount of flavonoids it contains, look for brands with at least 70% cacoa. So, pack your broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 for optimum sun protection and toss a few dark chocolate bars like Ghiradelli’s Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72%, in your carry-on.

Photo credit: FCC, EverJean 


2 thoughts on “Food Friday: Eat Chocolate for Sun Protection”

  1. Very interesting article especially for chocolate lovers. We all know how much damage the sun can do to our delicate skins, so eating some dark chocolate while also using a sun protection cream with an SPF of 30 certainly sounds like a good idea! I have heard though that these days creams with an SPF of at least 50 are best, although I guess it depends on the climate we find ourselves in?

  2. Good question, Jeff. New evidence shows that broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 is sufficient. Anything over 50 doesn’t really provide any more protection. The key is to reapply every two to four hours for optimal protection. Thanks for dropping by.

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