We relish hot cocoa for warming our bellies and spirits on cold winter days, but this ancient drink also can be good for you. Here are five reasons to rank hot cocoa as healthful, plus a recipe:
Cocoa is twice as strong as red wine when it comes to antioxidants, 2-3 times as strong as green tea and 4-5 times as strong as black tea. Antioxidants help prevent cancer, heart disease and aging.
Researchers have found that eating an average-sized dark chocolate candy bar daily for two weeks reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as “fight-or-flight” hormones in highly stressed people.
Hot cocoa is rich in flavonoids, which improve blood flow. Improved blood flow reduces the chance of blood clots, lowers blood pressure, improves heart health and helps you think better thanks to better blood flow to the brain.
Contains less fat
Hot cocoa is good for your because it has less fat than bar chocolate. Hot chocolate is chocolate melted in liquid, while hot cocoa is cocoa powder melted in hot water or milk.
Less extra ingredients
Homemade hot cocoa is better for you than instant mixes, which are full of sweeteners, oils and synthetic ingredients.
For a cup that is good for you, try this recipe.
Hot Cocoa Mix in a Jar
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1-1/4 cups nonfat milk powder
- 3/4 cup Splenda®
- 3/4 cup powdered non-dairy coffee creamer
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/4 cup instant coffee granules
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until well blended. Store in a sealed container.
To serve, heat 1 cup of water and stir in 2 to 3 heaping teaspoons of cocoa mixture.
Each serving (1 tablespoon dry mix) contains about 20 calories, 0.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium, 3 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 1 g protein.