What’s a good pick-me-up during a long, cold winter? You guessed it: chocolate! Natural cocoa and dark chocolate may not only improve your mood, but it can also help your skin stay hydrated.

Why Chocolate Is Skintastic: Flavanols, which are plant compounds naturally found in cocoa beans, help promote blood flow. This helps deliver nutrients throughout the body, including the skin.

Cocoa flavanols protect the skin from ultraviolet damage, increase blood flow to the skin, decrease water loss, and improve overall appearance of the skin. Not to mention cocoa butter has been used for generations as a topical, moisturizing beauty product.

Chia and Chocolate: Chia seeds are full of fiber, which helps your digestion. They may also reduce the risk of heart disease. When added to chocolate, chia seeds provide a unique crunch that’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe: 

Ingredients: 

10 ounces 70% cocoa bittersweet dark chocolate

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

½ cup toasted walnut pieces

½ cup toasted pecan pieces

½ cup toasted almond slices

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions: Combine chocolate and coffee, place over a double boiler, heating on a low flame while stirring until chocolate is 3/4 melted. Then remove from heat and stir until smooth. Mix in the toasted nuts and chia seeds. Spread mixture on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and chill until mixture sets, about 30 minutes. Break into pieces and serve.

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photo credit: youbeauty.com