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Last Updated on October 7, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster
One of the things my family loves most about the cold weather is having an excuse to drink hot cocoa. Considering the many health benefits of hot chocolate, we should be enjoying this tasty habit year round! Do you enjoy a mug of warm, sweet, homemade cocoa in the winter? Did you know that your warm beverage is not only tasty but has amazing benefits to your health as well? What does hot chocolate do to your body? Keep reading for a few health benefits of hot chocolate, as well as a delicious recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate for those of you who like a little 'kick' to your cocoa!
5 Health Benefits of Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is a powerful elixir! It boosts mood , combats stress and helps reduce anxiety. Nothing beats a steaming cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter day. Here are just a few reasons why you should sit down with this delicious winter favorite:
Boost Your Brain Power:
Cocoa is loaded with something called flavonoids. What are they? Well, those mysterious little molecules do a lot of things but one important thing is to improve brain health. Basically, the flavonoids work to boost blood flow and oxygen utilization in the brain, making it function better. Learn more about flavonoids on the Mother Nature Network and find out where else you can find them.
Chocolate improve heart health:
Those flavonoids I mentioned above? They don't just improve circulation in the brain. They boost circulation all over, which then helps improve heart health and lower your blood pressure. Adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to your hot chocolate like I do in my Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe below will boost your cocoa's circulation boosting power even more.
It's loaded with antioxidants:
There are more antioxidants in cocoa then there are in red wine or green tea. The antioxidants in cocoa are actually released better when it is heated up, according to Womanitely.com. Hot chocolate actually contains more antioxidants than if you were to just sit down and eat a chocolate bar.
Hot chocolate is a mood lifter:
According to LoveLiveHeath, hot chocolate actually contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant and boosts the production of endorphins that make people good. The antioxidants in it also calm some of the stress hormones in your body, helping you to relax. And, of course, the stuff just tastes so good that we are bound to feel happy when we drink it! Check out my recipe for lavender hot chocolate and sleep like a baby tonight!
It can help you lose weight:
This might be a bit of a stretch but I love the concept. When you are craving something sweet, grabbing a mug of hot chocolate is a much smarter choice than eating a few cookies. You can reduce the number of calories in your mug of cocoa by not only limiting the sugar in it but also using low fat milk. Next time you are craving something sweet, skip dessert and pour a mug of hot chocolate!
Is homemade hot chocolate healthier than store bought?
Hot chocolate does contain sugar and saturated fat so you really don't want to totally overload your system with it. One or two cups a day, however, will allow you to reap the health benefits of hot chocolate without too many unwanted side effects.
Want more chocolate recipes? Try these:
- Chocolate Fondue Recipe and Tutorial for Dessert Lovers! This Chocolate Fondue recipe seems like such an elegant dessert but it is incredibly simple to make. Depending on the type of supplies and kitchen equipment you have at home you can make this chocolate fondue over the stove or directly in a fondue pot.
- Easy Mint Truffle Recipe For Serious Chocolate Lovers One of my favorite types of homemade candies to make is this easy mint truffle recipe. They are quick to make and the chocolate flavor is so incredibly rich!
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Smoothie Bowl Recipe This dark chocolate cherry breakfast smoothie bowl recipe was a deliciously healthy start to my day. And of course, with the added chocolate it helped satisfy my sweet tooth, which is always nice!
Making your own hot chocolate mix allows you to reduce the sugar in your recipe and choose a high-quality cocoa. Check out this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate and get started on the road to better tasting and healthier living!
Does hot chocolate make you gain weight? Well, if you drink too much, yes, you run the risk of packing on a few pounds. It is fairly high in fat and sugar. So, make a mug of homemade hot chocolate a treat, not a daily ritual!
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.
I do love hot chocolate. I definitely need to splurge on it more often!