If you love chocolate, enjoy a nice cup of tea or can’t start your morning off without a steaming hot cup of coffee then you might be in luck. New research suggests that eating chocolate and drinking coffee or tea could help you live longer. I know you are loving this article already aren’t you?!

A study carried out by researchers from the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg in Germany found that indulgence in these treats while taking zinc supplements actually activates a compound that slows down aging. This reverses the ‘internal stress’ that naturally builds up over the years and has been linked to everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s.

As I am sure you are aware you can overdose on some supplements, however, zinc is a relatively safe supplement even at high doses. You will often know if you have taken too much as overexposure largely leads to nausea and a change in your taste. It can therefore be taken pretty regularly and could help slow down the aging process.

Chocolate, wine, coffee and tea contain the antioxidants polyphenols, which help combat cell damage.

The lab results showed that zinc activates a compound in polyphenols. This activation will protect against a gas being produced as a waste product by cells. This gas can damage a person’s DNA – oxidative stress – and is thought to play a key role in the aging process.

It also linked to inflammation that can then cause cancer and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Polyphenols cannot break down this damaging gas alone. But when combined with zinc, they create a ‘mega complex’.

The researchers therefore hope it can be taken as a supplement or incorporated as part of a drug with fewer side effects.

“It is certainly possible wine, coffee, tea or chocolate may well become be available in  the future with added zinc,” lead author Dr Ivana Ivanović-Burmazović said. ‘However, any alcohol content whatsoever would destroy the positive effects of this combination. Therefore it would only work with alcohol-free wines.”

Sorry all wine lovers of the alcoholic variety out there, but hey you can still get a positive effect from chocolate!