Every year, I yammer on about why you should be drinking more…MORE!…hot chocolate. Surprisingly, there are antioxidant health benefits to this chocolate-lover’s dream.
Pair with a slice of Scottish Shortbread and I’ll follow you anywhere.
Ten Reasons Homemade Hot Chocolate is Good For You
10: It’s got a punch of fiber. One tbsp has 1.8 grams of fiber. When I make my hot cocoa, I typically use two tbsp, so 3.4 grams in my cup deliciousness.
9: Flavonoids. What what?! Flavonoids are mind-blowing compounds and cocoa has two amazing flavonoids: epicatechin and catechin. The first one, epicatechin, relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. The second, catechin, acts as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation in the body. It’s the reason your doc tells you to eat dark chocolate, except that unsweetened cocoa powder has over twice the flavonoids per milligrams as dark chocolate.
8: A cup of hot chocolate improves brain function. Remember our friend, epicatechin, from #9? Turns out it improves various aspects of cognition in animals and humans.
7: Elevates your mood. It’s a long known fact that chocolate lifts your spirits and makes us happy.
6: Lowers the risk for certain diseases. It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it. Studies have shown that cocoa powder can lower the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and decrease the risk of stroke.
5: Possibly improves kidney function. Know anyone with diabetes? Or reduced kidney function? A study was done that suggests for the first time an increase of renal medullary oxygenation after intake of dark chocolate. Further studies are being conducted, but this is HUGE people
4: Satiates your desire for a sweet snack. Eh, you say. Why would this be important? Well, what if you’re on a restricted diet and you neeeeed something sweet? Having hot chocolate instead of a piece of cake, may be enough to stave off a candy bar binge. Not to mention gaining all the benefits mentioned above.
3: Unsweetened cocoa power is low in calories. 1 tbsp. = 10 calories.
2: Hot chocolate health’s benefits are better than red wine or tea. This is great news if you’re like me and find most red wines bitter. No? You like red wine? Cocoa still beats it. Cornell University researchers found that the powerful antioxidants in hot chocolate was almost twice that of red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea and four to five times stronger than black tea.
1: Whipped cream. Do I need to elaborate?
OMT’s Hot Chocolate
2 cups milk
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2-4 tsp. sugar – to taste
1 tsp. vanilla – optional
Whipped cream – optional.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together milk, cocoa, and sugar to taste.
Heat through, while continuing to stir or whisk to prevent scorching.
Turn off heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour into cup.
Top with whipped cream.
BONUS DELICIOUSNESS: Some of you may be thinking, because of diet or time, that you can’t imagine drinking homemade hot chocolate every day (I’m in your camp!).
This is how I incorporate cocoa’s amazing nutrients into my diet: I add a tablespoon to my morning cup O’Joe. (1 tablespoon to 2 measured cups of coffee):
Four years later, and I still drink my first cup of coffee with cocoa, hedging my health benefit bets.
Hot chocolate for ever’one!
Happy whipped cream mustaches, y’all!
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