What's the Healthy Aging Secret in Cocoa, Tea and Red Wine?
Pictured Recipe: Red-Wine Hot Chocolate
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.