That's right: Your favorite sweet treat can help you look and feel your best on the big day.

By Elizabeth Swanson
November 19, 2019
Courtesy of General Store

Eating healthily to prepare for your wedding should not mean deprivation, but many brides-to-be think they can't enjoy their favorite foods in the months leading up to the big day. Experts agree that they're mistaken. "We don't promote 'staying away' from anything. Rules are meant to be broken," says Danielle Duboise, co-founder of Sakara Life, a plant-based, organic meal delivery service. "The nutrition world comes in waves, always vilifying a nutrient. In the 90s it was fat. Now it's sugar. The problem isn't necessarily sugar—nature contains sweet things and that isn't inherently bad—but processed foods and refined sugars are 'foods' your body has a hard time digesting or knowing what to do with."

Historically, the exact same thing happened with chocolate: Dermatologists told teenagers to avoid chocolate if they're looking to clear their skin, says Whitney Tingle, co-founder of Sakara. "And while a conventional, milk chocolate candy bar can be filled with processed ingredients, preservatives, refined sugar, and dairy—all of which can interfere with your gut bacteria and cause acne—pure, raw cacao is a beautifying ingredient because of the polyphenols, a class of flavonoids and antioxidants that combat oxidative stress, or signs of aging. And it's joyful to eat."

Related: Want Glowing, Youthful Skin on Your Wedding Day? Here's What to Stock Your Fridge with to Get It

Basically, what we're saying is that you can have your cake and eat it, too—that's especially true when it comes to chocolate. As it turns out, chocolate can be a great part of a pre-wedding wellness regimen. "Cacao has been heavily researched in that it boosts cognitive function and increases mood neurotransmitters," Tingle says. "This is another incredible testament to the power of food as medicine, as having a square (or two) of high-quality chocolate can flood the brain with positive, mood-boosting chemicals." Raw cacao is also rich in minerals and nutrients, aiding both your mental and physical health. "High quality, raw cacao is one of the most naturally medicinal foods on the planet," she says.

That means your favorite candy bar won't really cut it as an everyday snack. "We like to look out for chocolate that's organic, the least processed, and the darkest percentage we can find," Duboise says. "We like to stick to at least 70 percent and dairy-free. If it's sweetened, we aim to stick with low glycemic sweeteners like honey or coconut sugar. What's powerful, though, is that your body will start to shift palates and crave the bitter flavor of pure cacao, which is an adjustment, but your body will lean away from the processed, fake sugars."

Both Tingle and Duboise eat a little chocolate every day—and they sell it with their Beauty Chocolates, which also contain collagen to help keep skin buoyant and youthful. You can also mix raw cacao powder into a morning smoothie and reap the benefits. Or, you can even—if you have a morning sweet tooth—try Green & Black's Organic 85 Percent Cacao Chocolate Bar first thing in the am with a cup of green tea. It will satisfy your sweet tooth early on and gives you a boost. "The combination of I-theanine in the green tea with the natural caffeine in chocolate is a great way to provide mental clarity and boost focus," Duboise says.

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