Wednesday, August 3, 2016

[That Snap Back] How chocolate can promote an increase in your skin's elastin

I've written countless times about the importance of maintaining healthy collagen levels as the years go by.  The moment you hit 25, your collagen production begins to decline.  Your body still continues to produce collagen, but the rate at which it's produced, and the type of collagen is not the same as when you were younger.

There are a few things you can do to help curb the loss of collagen with supplementation or investing in certain facial procedures. There's tons of info out there about tips and tricks to help maintain collagen but, rarely do you hear them mention the other important healthy skin protein, elastin.
Collagen is responsible for creating thicker, firmer skin. Elastin, on the other hand, promotes our skin's elasticity.  The more elastin in the skin, the easier it is to "snap back."   In certain individuals, you pinch the skin and,  it remains in place.  That is not a good thing.  A sign of young, healthy skin is it's ability to easily bounce back.  The more elastin present, the more "rubber band" like your skin becomes.

So how do we impact the amount of elastin in the body? First off, eat a diet of healthy foods. The more antioxidants you consume, the more free radicals you eliminate, and the faster you slow down skin aging.

Interestingly enough, a study was done on the effect of elastin production from chocolate consumption.  The study participants were asked to drink a flavanol-rich cocoa drink daily for 24 weeks.  At the end of the study, the women experienced positive effects on facial wrinkles, skin density, skin roughness, and elasticity.  The theory is that the flavanols provide some protection against photo-aging.  The combination of the high antioxidants in dark chocolate (the higher % of dark chocolate, the better), along with the potential sun protection, work together to create real improvements when consumed on a regular basis.  Now, whenever I have a craving for a sweet snack, perhaps I'll reach for some dark chocolate. Better yet, I can include raw cacao powder into my diet. This stuff contains antioxidant levels that rival that of green tea and red wine.  Did I also mention that cacao also contain sulfur which is great for hair, skin and nails?

If you're not a fan of chocolate, you can still use the principles of this study to create your own improvements.  First, make sure you are enjoying ample antioxidants daily.  This feeds the skin from within. Feel free to get your dose of antioxidants from green tea, juicing or maybe even from grounding. Next, you should place sun protection as a top priority.  When I think about in-elastic skin, the first image that comes to mind is sun-damaged skin. It's thin and somewhat leathery in appearance.  It's a no brainer that elastin levels are low when skin is in that condition.

As we go about our day, let's not forget to focus on nourishing the development our elastin proteins.  Doing so, long term will definitely pay off.


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