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The Importance Of Polyphenols: Vegan Cacao Brownie Recipe

By Christie Newman, Nutritionist for elenzia

elénzia Enhance, our nutritional supplement for cognitive health, contains a proprietary blend of polyphenols found in wild blueberry and French grape clinically proven to strengthen and support neurological function. Some may question, if the compounds found in two fruits that the majority of us love, why would we need to supplement them? Although these protective compounds are found naturally in certain foods, the reason they actively target the neurological areas is because of their unique ratio in a specific combination. Any recipe we might suggest to help you source this ratio through the diet alone would require an individual to consume an abnormal amount of blueberries and grapes, hindering a balanced diet and with so many other compounds present, there is the risk of inhibiting the successful intake of the specific nutrients. Therefore, when seeking key active efficacious nutraceutical grade polyphenols, there is nutrition innovation that makes targeted functional nutrition possible. However, polyphenols don’t just protect and enrich the neurological function, supporting the mind and how we feel overall, there are hundreds of them to support all the varied functions that aid a healthy body.

One we are focusing on this week is the polyphenols found in chocolate! Well Cacao to be precise, but we thought we would catch your attention with its end product. From a chemical standpoint, polyphenols are broadly defined as molecules that have multiple phenols (hydroxyl groups bonded to aromatic rings). But this is far too complex as there are literally thousands of different molecules! So, when we talk about polyphenols, it’s easier to group them into categories based on their chemical structure and general characteristics. That leaves us with four main categories: phenolic acids, stilbenes, lignans, and flavonoids (which contain six additional subcategories—flavonols, flavan-3-ols, flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, and anthocyanidins). Flavan-3-ols: Flavan-3-ols (also called flavanols, not to be confused with flavonols with two o’s!) occur in two forms, catechins and proanthocyanidins (also known as condensed tannins). Catechins are found in many types of fruit (apricots are the richest source) as well as red wine and green tea, and proanthocyanidins are what give certain foods and beverages their astringency—including wine, tea, grapes, peaches, berries, pears, and bitter chocolate. Flavan-3-ols play an important role in vascular health by supporting normal blood flow and maintaining the elasticity of blood vessels, and they may also have anti-microbial, anti-carcinogen, and neuro-protective properties.

To summarise they are suggested to help us boost beauty and feel good from within. We thought with it being that time of year when we all want to look our best, yet indulge in festive foods, here’s some guilty / non-guilty pleasurable high Flavan-3-ols containing recipes. Cacao is one of our favourites. It’s technically chocolate but healthy and this recipe just happens to be vegan. Ingredients for Cacao Vegan Brownies These are the ingredients you will need to make this polyphenol rich cacao brownies recipe: 12 tbsp Coconut Flour

6 tbsp Preferably Agave syrup or Brown, cane or coconut sugar – Feel free to use other types of sugar. Dates are also a good alternative, just add some milk if the batter is too thick. 6 tbsp of Coconut oil or any oil with a neutral flavour are ideal, or even vegan butter. If you’re oil-free, you could use any nut butter instead, and then add more milk if needed.

5 tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder – Raw cacao and carob powder are also great. If you use carob powder you may need to add less sugar.

3 tbsp of chia seeds soaked in a 200ml of water once soft you can add or whizz till the seed are blended in a food processor.

2 tbsp of your chosen type of milk (coconut works well) Add more if the texture is too thick.

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Dash of Baking powder

Salt – This ingredient is optional. It enhances the cocoa powder flavour.

Chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate instead, or even cacao nibs.

How to make Cacao Vegan brownies

Preheat your oven to 350ºF or 180ºC.

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Line an 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) square baking pan with some parchment paper or grease the pan with some coconut oil if you don’t want to use parchment paper.

Pour the mix into the pan, smoothing the top out evenly, sprinkle chips or nibs evenly on top. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes (my brownies were ready in 35 minutes).

Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5 to 7 days

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