Contrary to popular belief, hot chocolate can actually be healthy. In a recent study out of Cornell University (I admit, I'm biased towards research out of my alma mater), hot chocolate was found to be a better source of antioxidants than coffee, tea, and red wine.
Antioxidants are important dietary compounds that help fight those nasty free radicals that damage cells. While we need some free radicals to help the body function, the modern diet is unbalanced-there is more damage being done by free radicals than good. If we can eat more antioxidants from their food sources, mainly fruits and vegetables (yes, cocoa is a natural fruit), then we can put back the free radical/antioxidant balance to where it should be. The authors of the article are wise to note though that this is not free reign to drink as much hot chocolate as you want.
Here's some guidance for that yummy hot chocolate...
- Try to find a dark chocolate source
- Use skim or soy milk.
- Consider a sweetener such as Stevia instead of sugar.
- Sip and savor. You'll actually get more satisfaction and a greater sense of fullness.
- Find even healthier chocolates to use, such as chocolate with probiotics added.
As always, thank you for reading and have a great week.
Dustin G. James, MD
Board Certified Gastroenterologist
Creator of tummydrops
Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Digestive Health
Pour Me a Cup of Antioxidants-Gotta Love Hot Cocoa!