Recipe: Indulgent & Healthy Antioxidant-rich Treats

Clusters of fresh raspberries and blueberries with crunchy pecans and flax seeds coated in rich, dark chocolate – yum! Not just delicious, but packed with healthy goodies like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals! What better excuse to make some delicious treats to share with friends?!

Antioxidants are the super-compounds that neutralise harmful free radicals to help protect the cells in our body from being damaged. This quick and simple recipe combines just 5 ingredients that are well documented for their high level of antioxidants:

Blueberries
Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidant anthocyanin – which gives the berries their wonderful dark blue pigment and antioxidant – and other antioxidant phenolic compounds, plus a bounty of vitamins and minerals. The best source of the anthocyanin is actually the bilberry – the Northern European wild blueberry – so try and find them when they’re in season! Frozen berries are equally as nutritious as fresh berries.

Raspberries
Delicious sweet raspberries are also rich in anthocyanin as well as a multitude of other antioxidant compounds, vitamins and minerals. For the highest level of antioxidants, choose organic fruits if you can. As above, don’t forget that frozen berries are just as good as fresh!

Nuts
Rich, buttery-tasting pecans are rich in antioxidant compounds – and have the highest antioxidant level of all nuts. They are also rich with vitamins, minerals and healthy monounsaturated fat. On the down side, pecans pack a high-calorie punch – so enjoy in moderation!

Flax Seed
Tiny flax seed (also known as Linseed) is a real super-food! As well as being rich in antioxidant lignans, flax is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids and a great source of dietary fibre.

Dark Chocolate
Good quality dark chocolate (70%+) has a high level of flavonols, an antioxidant flavonoid, which is unique to cocoa. While dark chocolate is relatively healthy compared with milk chocolate, it does contain some saturated fat so moderation is in order.

“Healthy” Berry-choc-nut Clusters
(Makes about 12)

Ingredients:
125g fresh blueberries
125g fresh raspberries
150g dark chocolate (70%)
50g chopped pecan nuts
60g flax seeds

Note: I have specified fresh berries rather than frozen as this gives the best results for this recipe.

Nutritional information (each): Calories: 135 kCal / Protein: 2.6g / Fat: 9.7g (Saturated 3.2g) / Carbohydrates 8.1g (Sugars 4g, Fibre 2.5g).

Method:
1. Prepare a plate or tray with paper muffin / confectionary cases.
2. Carefully melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. When completely melted, remove from the heat and stir continually for a few minutes to allow it to cool slightly.
3. Gently fold all the remaining ingredients into the melted chocolate until everything is evenly coated.
4. Scoop a dessert spoon amount of mixture into each muffin case and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until set.
5. Remove from the refrigerator about an hour before serving to bring the chocolate to room temperature for maximum deliciousness!

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