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Deliciously Dark Chocolate

Wouldn’t you love to know that you don’t have to stop munching on chocolate? We all love some chocolatey pleasure every so often, and now you don’t even have to feel guilty about it as we bring you the ultimate healthy chocolate alternative – Dark Chocolate!



Dark chocolate contains a minimum of 70% cocoa and brings a lot of health benefits as it is loaded with flavonoids. It helps in maintaining cardiovascular health, preventing diabetes, and even lowering cancer risk. It is also loaded with antioxidants that strengthen your immune system and prevent premature ageing as well.

 

Here are some amazing benefits of dark chocolate:

 

1.  Improves Brain Functioning

Research has shown that eating chocolate before your exam helps you perform well. The dark chocolate contains compounds like flavonoids that enhance the blood flow to the brain as it enhances problem-solving skills, reaction time, attention span as well as memory. Chocolate also promotes endorphin production that is known as the ‘feel happy chemical’ as it boots mind and mood.

 

2.  Improves Heart Health 

Studies have shown dark chocolate aids in blood circulation from and towards the heart because of the high flavonoid content in it. Dark chocolate promotes cardiovascular health by making blood vessels elastic and prevents its stiffening in the long run. Moreover, it prevents blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels and avoids the blockage in vessels that is caused due to buildup.

 

3.  Diabetes Prevention

Dark chocolate is great when it comes to diabetes prevention, as well. Inflammation is a major reason and cause of diabetes as it increases insulin resistance with the passage of time. Dark chocolate is helpful in reducing the natural insulin resistance of your body, which contributes in preventing diabetes.

 

4.  Weight Loss

Eating dark chocolate before having your meal is helpful in controlling your portions as it makes you feel satiated for longer. This is because it triggers hormones in the body that make you feel fuller for longer and makes you eat lesser consequently.

 

5.  Cancer Prevention

Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids which are known to avert cell damage and also have the capacity to repair the already damaged cells while inhibiting tumour growth. Georgetown University even conducted research on the Pentamer compound for treating the cancer cells. This compound is found in cocoa of the dark chocolate. In this research, it was found that Pentamer helped in preventing cell division by inhibiting the proteins required to divide these cells.

 

These are the great benefits offered by chocolate, but keep in mind that you have to select the right kind of chocolate to get the maximum benefits, which is the dark chocolate (70%+). The regular chocolates contain additional chemicals as well as sugars that are highly processed, which causes the elimination of helpful chemicals. Therefore, to avoid sugars and get all the health benefits brought to you by cocoa, go for the dark chocolate as a healthy substitute. And do try these delicious and satisfying dark chocolate recipes.

 

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries (serves 4)

  • 500g fresh organic strawberries

  • 250g dark chocolate chips


To melt choc chips:

  1. Place a medium-sized pan over medium heat

  2. Add about 4cm of water, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to low.

  3. Make a double boiler by placing a glass bowl on top of the open pot.

  4. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir using a silicone spatula until smooth and completely melted. 


To prepare strawberries:

  1. Keeping the green stems and leaves intact, wash and dry the strawberries well.

  2. Grab one strawberry by the stem and dunk into the chocolate about ¾ of the way.

  3. Shake off the excess chocolate, then lay the strawberry on a tray lined with parchment paper.

  4. Repeat the process for all the strawberries.

  5. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  


Raw Cacao Pudding (serves 2)

  • 2 bananas

  • 1 avocado

  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

  1. Add the ingredients to a food processor or blender.

  2. Pour the pudding into two serving bowls and cover.

  3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Enjoy as is, or top with berries to serve.

 

Protein Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips (serves 1)

  • ½ cup rolled oats

  • 1 cup water

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder

  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

  1. Add the oats, water, sea salt, and cinnamon to a small pot over medium heat.

  2. Stir until the liquid is absorbed.

  3. Stir in the protein powder and turn off the heat.

  4. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and top with chocolate chips.  

Strawberries with Coconut and Cacao (serves 2)

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut  

  • ¼ cup cacao nibs

  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)

 

  1. Wash the strawberries, dry well and remove the green stems.

  2. Slice the strawberries in half and add them to a bowl.

  3. Top with shredded coconut, cacao, and honey (optional).

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