Dark chocolate and almonds

Wellness Wednesday: Small Indulgences Can Keep You Sharp

Scientists have found a relationship between certain foods and how the brain functions. This is great news during normal times — and when times are tough, it’s extra-comforting.

Dark chocolate is a fine example of a small indulgence with brain-boosting benefits. In fact, research has linked cacao consumption with improvement in visual attention, task switching, and verbal fluency. Good thing, too. We’re all juggling so much right now, so let’s take solace where we can. For a soothing pick-me-up, indulge in up to 1 ounce of dark chocolate (70% or more cacao content) per day, or a small amount of cocoa powder, as in the indulgent toast recipe below.

Cocoa Almond Toast

Makes one serving

1 tablespoon sliced almonds
2 plump Medjool dates, pitted and sliced
1 slice whole-grain bread, toasted
1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder

Shake the almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned in spots. Remove to a plate.

Place the dates in a small bowl. Add boiling water just to cover. Let stand a minute or so, then drain and pat gently dry.

Spread toast with coconut oil or butter. Sift cocoa powder on top. Layer on the plumped dates, then the toasted almonds. Savor each bite.