Dark chocolate is one of the common favorites when it comes to sweets. In contrast to milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains more cocoa or chocolate, making it purer the the latter. Interestingly, people can benefit from eating it. The following are some health benefits of dark chocolate, along with a sample recipe.
One health benefit of dark chocolates is its antioxidant property. According to Authority Nutrition, dark chocolate is one of the food choices that are high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC, which refers to a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods. Being rich in antioxidants means dark chocolate is capable of helping the body get rid of unwanted substances like toxins and free radicals. To specify, the antioxidants present dark chocolate include catechins, flavonols, and polyphenols, among others. Research findings revealed that dark chocolates and cocoa contain more antioxidants that other fruits like Acai berries and blueberries. Hence, they are potent sources of antioxidants than other food selections; but this does not mean that a person should limit his food intake to dark chocolates or cocoa.
Dark chocolate also boosts a person’s mind. According to a Nottingham University study, as cited by Men’s Fitness, the sweet increases the person’s alertness for two to three hours. It contains flavonol, which has vasodilating capacity. The diameter of the blood vessels increase for more oxygen and blood to reach key areas in the brain, giving a person a boost in cognition, thinking, memory, and problem solving. Aside from dark chocolate, flavonols can also be found in blueberries, green tea, and red wine.
Another health benefit of dark chocolate is its anti-cancer properties. According to the American Cancer Institute, as cited by Dr. Axe’s official website, studies suggest that cocoa has cancer protective properties, which are limited yet suggestive. However, more efforts have yet to be done on the chocolates’ cancer protective capacity.
One recipe that uses dark chocolate is Salted Dark Chocolate Truffled Cookies. According to How Sweet Eats, the ingredients include six tablespoons unsalted butter, four ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped), three large eggs, two cups of dark chocolate chips, three-fourth cup of granulated sugar, two teaspoons vanilla extract, half cup and two tablespoons of all-purpose flour, two tablespoons dark chocolate or dutch process cocoa powder, one-fourth teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon baking powder, coarse sea salt for sprinkling, and melted chocolate for dipping and chocolate sprinkles for coating (optional).
To prepare, as per the publication, the chocolate, chocolate chips, and butter are melted in a large bowl and are set aside to cool completely. Next, flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder are combined in a small bowl and the mixture is set aside. After that, the eggs and sugar are added, beating on high until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. The vanilla extract and the meted chocolate and butter are added and are beaten for one to two more minutes until combined. The sides of the bowl are scraped down and the dry ingredients are stirred in. The remaining chocolate chips are folded in and the cover is covered with plastic wrap and is refrigerated.
Meanwhile, the oven is preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and parchment paper is placed on an ungreased baking sheet. Dough is rolled into one-inch balls, placing them about two inches apart. The dough is refrigerated in between rounds. A bit of salt is sprinkled on top of each dough ball, before they are baked for around ten minutes. A bit of salt is sprinkled and the pastry is allowed to cool for at least ten minutes on the baking sheet. Once removed, wax or parchment paper is placed to cool completely.
Dark chocolate is considered nutritious, since it has evidence-based health benefits to the body. Thus, it can be freely added to various recipes, especially dessert, for the entire family.