Photo: Olivia Barr

Chocoholics rejoiced a few years ago when evidence emerged indicating that the creamy indulgence confers health benefits, including possible protection against cancer and heart disease. But now there's a new reason to celebrate: It turns out that chocolate can also reduce skin damage from sun exposure. A new study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology finds that eating antioxidant-rich dark chocolate can increase your skin's natural UV protection. "The higher the percentage of cacao, the more antioxidants you're getting," says Joe Vinson, PhD, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton who has led previous chocolate studies. "It also helps to eat little bits over the course of a day to extend its benefits." It's as if the premium chocolatiers have a dosing schedule in mind: Dagoba, Scharffen Berger, and others have recently introduced lines of "tasting squares" (five or ten grams each) with at least 70 percent cacao.

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