Our hair, skin, and nails act as a barometer for overall health, because their condition is a direct reflection of our internal well-being. Here’s how the ingredients in cacao benefit us on the inside while making us look great on the outside:
Polyphenols for Radiant, Glowing Skin
Polyphenols, and specifically flavanols, found in cacao have a positive impact on cardiovascular health by protecting cells from free radicals that can damage cell membranes, proteins, and DNA. Healthy cardiovascular cells mean healthy blood vessels that can better pump blood and deliver oxygen. In order to maintain a healthy head of hair, our scalp needs a steady supply of blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to nourish our hair follicles and thus keep them alive and growing hair.
Glowing, young-looking skin needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to maintain strong interactions with underlying connective tissue to keep it from sagging and wrinkling. Optimal blood flow also encourages healthy turnover of dead skin cells to keep the top layer looking young and fresh. Flavanols also act like a natural, internal sunscreen, protecting skin cells from sun damage.
Good blood flow is also essential to keep our nail beds healthy and allows nails to grow strong, free from splits, ridges, brittleness, or fungal infections.
Magnesium for Vibrant Hair and Nails
Cacao is one of the richest food sources of magnesium. After potassium, magnesium is the second most abundant cation (molecule with a positive charge) in the body.
Magnesium is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and reducing inflammation in blood vessels, both of which facilitate the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to our scalp for healthy, vibrant hair and to nail beds for healthy nails.
One of the first places that sluggish digestion shows up is in the skin in the form of breakouts. Magnesium draws water into the lower GI tract to help regulate bowel function and regularly eliminate toxins and waste.
Iron and Zinc for Full, Lustrous Hair and Beautiful Nails
Cacao is a good source of iron and zinc, both of which are essential for healthy hair and preventing hair loss. In addition, when iron is low, nails will take on a spoon shape, and they can develop white spots from zinc deficiency.
Who would have thought that chocolate could be so good and so good for you? In moderation, a good quality chocolate with a high cacao content can feel like an indulgence while also making you feel good about your hair, skin, and nails.
- Linda DiBella, PhD. is a functional nutrition consultant who successful detoxification programs help her clients lose weight and optimize their health. She can be found on Facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.