Well, it looks like Christmas can actually come early this year and every year, on December 13th to be exact. That’s National Cocoa Day, a time to celebrate the deliciousness – and nutritiousness – of cocoa!
So why don’t you go grab a mug of hot cocoa and then come back and read the health benefits cocoa offers?
But first, we need to tell you there is a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa: Hot chocolate is made by mixing ground chocolate (which contains cocoa butter) with hot milk. While delicious, this beverage has a lot of fat and calories.
Hot cocoa, on the other hand, is made by fermenting, drying, roasting, and grinding cocoa beans. The cocoa powder is then used to make hot cocoa, and this beverage has little fat and few calories. It’s delicious and healthy to boot!
As long as you don’t add a lot of sugar or whipped cream to your mug of hot cocoa, it can offer you a lot of health benefits:
How can something so delicious help you ward off cancer? Cocoa contains very large amounts of powerful antioxidants, which have been shown to help prevent cancer and other diseases.
Great for Digestive Health
Your GI tract is home to billions of microorganisms, mainly good bacteria, also called probiotics. The beneficial bacteria in your gut need food to live, just like you and me. This food is called prebiotics. Cocoa is loaded with prebiotics that can help keep your probiotics happy and your gut healthy!
Flavonoids are a group of compounds found in plants that have been shown to have positive benefits on heart health. The flavonoids in cocoa help to ensure arterial walls remain flexible instead of stiff. This helps keep your blood pressure low and your circulation flowing nicely.
This is only a handful of the many benefits cocoa offers is. So this winter, be sure to enjoy some hot cocoa. But I advise you to make your own and stay away from store-bought cocoa that contains copious amounts of sugar.