Sunday is a day near and dear to my heart – International Chocolate Day. Chocolate (being one of the four major food groups in our household) really does have some health benefits. As a matter of fact, dark chocolate is one of Dr. Oz’s favorite foods as well (http://slideshows.health.com/slide_shows/10648/slides/12958).
The reason we like dark chocolate so much is that it’s rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins A and E, which is good for blood circulation and the skin. Studies have shown that eating up to three ounces of dark chocolate (more than 60% cacao) a day can lower blood pressure by as much as 10%.
I shared this recipe a few years ago but it’s so good, it bears repeating. From the November/December 2006 issue of Herb Quarterly comes a facial mask. Their recipe calls it “Orange Truffle Facial Mask” but since I’m addicted to Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookies, I substitute peppermint oil for the orange.
1 tsp cocoa powder (the same stuff you buy in the baking aisle at the grocery store)
1 tsp honey
1 drop orange essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir thoroughly (adjust ingredient amounts as necessary for desired consistency). Apply to freshly washed skin, leave on for 20 minutes and wipe off with a warm, damp washcloth. (Use a dark washcloth – the cocoa will stain light-colored fabric.) Refrigerate the unused portion (if any) and use within a week.
It smells heavenly and leaves my skin very smooth and soft. Relaxing for 20 minutes doesn’t hurt, either!