Acticoa: the chocolate bar that beats wrinkles
A new kind of chocolate that apparently slows the ageing process and keeps wrinkles at bay has been unveiled by the world's largest chocolatier.
Acticoa is packed with natural antioxidants which can protect the skin from damage by harmful free radicals.
Studies have shown that just 20g a day of the chocolate could help prevent wrinkles by hydrating the skin and improving elasticity.
The health-boosting bars, drinks and buttons were invented by chocolatiers at Barry Callebaut, whose 7,500 strong workforce in 26 countries make £3bn worth of chocolate each year, supplying household names like Cadbury and Thorntons.
The company developed the time-defying snacks by finding a way to preserve antioxidants called flavonols which are found in cocoa beans but are usually destroyed in the chocolate-making process.
flavonols "mop up" free radicals caused by smoking, pollution, caffeine and lack of sleep, which can accelerate the ageing process.
Acticoa is available in the form of a number of popular existing chocolate brands, such as Thortons Antioxi Dark Berryboost and Guylian Extra Seashells.
Harry Vriens, of Barry Callebaut, said: "Chocolate and health do not seem to fit together but it is a very interesting proposition: if I can eat something I like and it is good for me, that is great. Chocolate is probably at the bottom of the list when you think about making food healthier."
Dark chocolate has already been linked with certain health benefits, such as helping to lower blood pressure and reducing the risk of strokes thanks to its high content of antioxidants.
But some experts are not so convinced about the healthful effects of Acticoa on the skin. Richard Hurrell, Professor of Human Nutrition at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said: "There is quite a lot of evidence that cocoa flavonols have a positive effect on the blood flow," he said.
"They could reduce blood pressure which could have a positive effect on cardiovascular diseases. The possible effects on skin and cognitive performance are less well established. There is evidence, but it is much less consistent. It may be that the effect on the blood flow is also what improves memory or skin health in some of the studies."