Q. What’s the Healthy Aging Secret in Cocoa, Tea and Red Wine?
Sylvia Geiger, M.S., R.D.,
A. Epicatechin. This specific type of flavonoid (antioxidant)—in cocoa, tea and red wine—helps blood vessels maintain a healthy elasticity, which lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow to the heart and other organs, including the skin. In a study of 24 women, published last year in the Journal of Nutrition, drinking an epicatechin-rich cocoa beverage daily for 12 weeks improved skin texture and protected against sunburn. The authors explained that epicatechin increased blood flow to the skin, boosting nutrient and oxygen supply—both factors essential for keeping skin healthy. It likely also absorbed UV light that otherwise might react with and damage skin cells, and swept up tissue-damaging free radicals.
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