Dark chocolate can help skin maintain a youthful appearance, says Gerbstadt. Recent research found that chocolate’s flavonols, or plant pigments that act like antioxidants, help protect skin from harmful UV light. Participants who consumed 20 grams of flavonol-rich dark chocolate daily for 12 weeks showed a notable improvement in skin resistance to UV light. Additional research also found that people who regularly drank hot cocoa made from dark cocoa powder for three months increased skin tolerance to UV light and reduced reddening by as much as 25 percent.
How much to eat: Gerbstadt suggests nibbling on 1 ounce of dark chocolate a day or mixing 2 tablespoons of unsweetened dark cocoa powder in 8 ounces of hot regular or nondairy milk.