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!
Ingredients (use organic where possible).
- 400g (2-3 medium beetroot) beetroot, chopped
- 150g dark Chocolate (80% cocoa)
- 100g butter
- 200g brown sugar or stevia
- 3 free-range eggs
- 100g wholemeal plain flour
- 30g cocoa powder
*Top, tail and peel the beetroot. Roughly chop and place into a large bowl. Add a splash of water, cover with cling film – pierced with a few small holes – then microwave on high for 10 minutes, or until tender.
*Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter then line a 20cm x 30cm tin. Roughly chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes.
*Drain the beetroot through a sieve, then place into a food processor with the chocolate and butter. Whizz until the mix has melted and is as smooth as you can get it.
*Whisk the sugar and eggs in a large bowl for about 2 minutes or until thick, pale and foamy.
*Spoon the beetroot mixture into the bowl with the whisked eggs. Then, using a large metal spoon, gently fold the beetroot into the whisked eggs, keeping as much air in the mixture as you can. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and gently fold in to make a smooth batter.
*Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen all over. Cool the brownies completely in the tin, then cut into squares. Serves 15-20 squares.