If you’re looking for a delicious way to protect the brain from oxidative stress and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, you’re in luck! This easy bark recipe features delicious berries and dark chocolate, both of which offer brain-boosting antioxidants.
Get the recipe below!
Fighting Oxidative Stress with Food
Oxidative stress and inflammation are major factors that contribute to cognitive decline and the development of neurogenerative diseases. Clinical research shows that the natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in berries like blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, and mulberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Of these compounds, anthocyanins are flavonoids found in deep red, purple, and blue pigments of plants. While all berries have flavonoids, blackberries pack the power with all six types of flavonoids!
Annie Fenn, doctor and chef at Brain Health Kitchen, explains that “anthocyanins activate your brain’s clean-up crew – groups of cells that work together to clear out plaques and debris, like the amyloid found in Alzheimer’s.”
In addition to protecting the brain, flavonoids may also help lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Plus, dark chocolate is also teeming with flavonoids.
The benefits of these plant pigments are so compelling, you might forget they’re disguised as a delicious treat! Here’s the recipe from Dr. Fenn, whose mission is to help protect us from Alzheimer’s and other dementias with education and recipes that promote brain health.
Dark Chocolate Berry Bark
½ cup dark chocolate (65% or more cacao**), broken into pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon almond, vanilla, or other extract (Fenn likes Fiori di Sicula)
1 cup fresh berries, rinsed and patted dry
**Opt for cacao, which is unprocessed and full of flavonoids, versus it’s processed form, cocoa, which is often used in baking.
- Line a 12x9-inch rimmed baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper; set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in a microwave over using low power (or a double boiler); keep a close eye on it by stirring every 10 seconds until no pieces remain.
- Stir in the olive oil and extract.
- Scrape the chocolate mixture onto the baking sheet and spread with a spatula or spoon to make a thin layer. Gently press berries onto the surface. Sprinkle with flaky salt, if using.
- Freeze until chocolate is firm but the berries have not frozen solid, about 15 minutes, or refrigerate for about 1 hour.
To serve, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Remember, an ounce or two of chocolate a day is plently. An ounce is typically about three squares of a chocolate bar.