Good news for those of us that like a slap of chocolate and a glass or nine of red of an evening - studies have found that they are the secret to staying youthful. No, really.
Scientists at the University of Exeter has released findings that suggest the time-honoured indulgent combination leads to old cells more resembling young ones and thus creating the impression of being younger.
They found that foods that contained telomeres - strands of DNA that hold cells together - are beneficial to keeping the cells of the face together than thus combatting wrinkles. Cells gradually lose telomeres over time but for those of us with healthy (trust us, it's science now) addictions to chocolate and red wine, that can be a thing of the past.
Once cells were treated with telemores, the older cells that are typical of (surprise, surprise) older people were replenished and began to look like younger cells.
Moreover, the same compounds that are found in red wine and dark chocolate (not to mention grapes and blueberries too) are strong in flavonoids as well, which are successful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
The study was published in the British Medical Journal's Cell Biology publication and was carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter, assisted by colleagues from the University of Brighton.
"This is a first step in trying to make people live normal lifespans, but with health for their entire life," said Professor Harries, the lead researcher on the project.
"Our data suggests that using chemicals to switch back on the major class of genes that are switched off as we age might provide a means to restore function to old cells."
Dr Eva Latorre, a research associate at the University of Exeter and one of the people responsible for the study, commented: "When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn't believe it."
"These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic. I repeated the experiments several times and in each case, the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research."
So now you can tell whoever you like that your diet of red wine and dark chocolate is actually healthy. We're not sure that it'll make you look younger, but it might well make you feel that way.
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