How to get the most nutrients out of dark chocolate. PICTURE: Supplied

How to get the most nutrients out of food. This week: Dark Chocolate

1. Serve berries dipped in dark chocolate for a healthier dessert. Both are rich in polyphenols, chemicals thought to improve blood flow and cognitive function. 

A 2013 study in the Journal of Food Research shows strawberries covered in very dark chocolate had a more powerful antioxidant effect than either food eaten on its own.

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2. Look for bars with at least 70 per cent cocoa to keep sugar intake down. Dark chocolate can contain as little as 35 per cent cocoa and nearly 60 per cent sugar.

3. Grate it. If you struggle to keep to a healthy portion size of around 30g, try grating the chocolate into a pile. This makes a small amount seem bigger and slows the rate at which you can eat it.

4. Add depth of flavour, plus extra heart and anti-inflammatory benefits, to chili con carne by mixing 20g of dark chocolate into a recipe for four.

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5. Team with green tea. Research by chocolate maker Hershey found people who snacked on dark chocolate mid-afternoon were more alert — but their blood pressure increased. When they ate the chocolate with L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, their blood pressure reduced.

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