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10-minute chocolate hit

Before your hand reaches out for the last remnants of Easter egg, try to eat chocolate that contains about 70 per cent cocoa solids - which means it contains a high proportion of ground up roasted cocoa beans. Chocolate containing less cocoa solids tends to be cheaper and relies on more sugar and fat for flavour and texture. Too sweet a chocolate will send your blood sugar rocketing, which will undo any good mood feelings you might get from eating it.

If you've devoured your eggs and feel guilty, don't panic. Chocolate contains an amino acid, phenylalanine, which is involved in making dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can regulate mood. It stimulates your metabolism and nervous system, which could be why some people turn to chocolate when feeling low.

If you have any chocolate left, below is a recipe for a delicious cake, rich in amino acids from the chocolate, the beauty of this cake is that there is no flour or added saturated fat. Bear in mind your body only needs small amounts of amino acids.

Amino acids are essential

Neurotransmitters are the messengers that carry information between the neurons in your brain. They are made from amino acids, which are made from protein in your food; your body can make some amino acids but you can only get the essential ones from eating protein - fish, meat, eggs, grains, pulses, soy, nuts and dairy.

Your body cannot store amino acids, so you need to keep topping up with small amount of protein during the day. The process of converting phenylalanine into feelgood dopamine depends on other vitamins and minerals, so you still need to make sure you are eating a balanced diet - you cannot just fill up on chocolate and be happy.


Chocolate and almond cake

This chocolate-studded cake can also double up as pudding; glam it up with a little raspberry coulis (whizz frozen raspberries with icing sugar and sieve).

How to prepare: Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line base of an 18cm-round cake tin with baking paper and grease sides with butter. Blitz 200g dark 70 per cent cocoa solids chocolate in a processor or chop finely. Beat 4 eggs with 170g caster sugar till pale and creamy. Fold in chopped chocolate, 250g ground almonds and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Pour into tin and bake for about 20 minutes, till just firm to touch. Cool and dust with icing sugar.

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

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