Would you believe that indulging in your chocolate craving can actually be good for you? Celebrate Cocoa Day on Dec. 13 by sipping a cup and knowing you are doing something good for yourself!
Did you know?
Choosing your chocolate wisely could mean decreasing stress and increasing endorphin production, the "feel-good" chemicals in the body shown to improve mood.
The higher the cacao content (represented on packaging by percentage), the more benefits. Avoid products that are highly processed or have a high sugar content.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain the most flavonoids, antioxidants known to relax blood vessel and reduce blood pressure.
Dark chocolate may also reduce LDL (the bad kind of) cholesterol.
Chocolate is a much weaker stimulant than most people think. In fact, a typical 1.4-ounce chocolate bar contains the stimulant equivalent of a cup of decaf coffee (5mg).
Scents of the season
Add some spice to your cocoa, as these comforting aromas are also known to provide a sense of calmness.
Cinnamon provides an aroma of warming, cheering, comforting and nurturing.
Cloves fill the air with a sweet, spicy aroma evoking a calming energy.
Ginger spices up a cold, snowy night with an earthy aroma, producing a warming sensation.
Peppermint has a minty aroma. It offers a cooling and refreshing sensation.
Thick and rich hot cocoa
Serves 6 (generous 1/3 cup each)
All you need:
2 1/4 cups nonfat milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
All you do:
1. Combine milk, cocoa, sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until steaming. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil, then remove from the heat.
Nutrition facts per serving: 98 calories, 2g fat (1 g saturated fat , 1 g monounsaturated), 50 mg sodium, 109 mg potassium, 19g carbohydrate (8g added sugar), 2g fiber, 5g protein.
Recipe source: Eating Well.com