By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Dark chocolate provides nutritional benefits! It is made from the seed of the cocoa tree and is full of antioxidants. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains so try to go for 80% cocoa where possible. Dark chocolate contains a high level of minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and selenium. In studies dark chocolate has been found to contain a good amount of flavanols which help to improve blood flow and have also been found to help lower cholesterol levels. It has also been found to help reduce insulin resistance (insulin resistance is linked to type 2 diabetes). Dark chocolate also helps in brain health, providing memory with a supporting boost.
When it comes to fertility……….Dark chocolate can help boost male fertility as it is a rich source of the amino acid L-arginine which studies show can improve sperm count and motility. This amino acid can also help female fertility too as it increases the flow of blood to the ovaries and uterus. Enjoy – but not too much – just a few squares equivalent each day!
Very Merry Dark Chocolate and Berry Mousse Desserts (makes 4 glasses/ramekins)
80g dark chocolate (containing over 80% cocoa)
4 tbsp natural yogurt
2 large egg whites
2 tsp caster sugar
300g berries (raspberries and blueberries go well with this recipe)
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and once melted, allow it to cool for 5-10 mins, then stir in the yogurt. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and then add the sugar and continue whisking. Fold the whites into the chocolate mix and place the berries into small glasses or ramekins, then divide mousse on top. Place into the fridge to chill and allow to set. Enjoy!
Dark chocolate and raspberry mousse (makes 6 ramekins)
- 300g dark chocolate (80% or above cocoa solids)
- 6 egg yolks
- 3oz caster sugar
- 500ml thickened cream, whipped
- 200g frozen raspberries
Place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure bowl doesn’t touch water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally with a metal spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place the yolks and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat for 5 minutes or until thick and creamy. Slowly beat in chocolate until combined.
Fold the cream into chocolate mixture. Spoon half the mixture into glasses or ramekins. Top with raspberries. Spoon over remaining mixture. Cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.
Don’t waste the egg whites – why not make a lovely homemade raspberry meringue?