Is Hot Chocolate Good For You?

You can believe that it is good for you! If you indulged in a few cups of hot chocolate this month don’t feel guilty. But of course that depends upon what type of chocolate you chose to consume. Many research studies have actually determined that this is a very beneficial liquid and even in solid form the darker the better.

  • Please note that one teaspoon equals 5000 mg.
  • For cardiovascular health approximately 200 mg to 900 mg per day.
  • For blood sugar/insulin improvement around 200 mg to 600 mg per day For memory/cognitive function 500 to 900 mg per day is beneficial.
  • For skin elasticity/wrinkles: 320 mg per day is recommended.

As you read through this article you might see the different spellings for the word cocoa. Cocoa is harvested the same way as cacao but heated at a high temperature. the final product is much sweeter than cacao. Cocoa is better for baking and has a sweeter tasting. Unfortunately, cocoa is more processed, decreasing antioxidants and nutrients.

Cacao beans are dried fermented and heated at a low temperature. The heat separates the fatty part of the bean from the rest. It contains more antioxidants. Cacao nibs are a great chocolate chip replacement. Cacao butter can be used as a moisturizer. Cacao isn’t as week as cocoa.

It is the flavonoids in the chocolate that is believed to create the improvements health benefits. It can be beneficial for macular degeneration,  premature aging and even reduce your risk of cancer. The darker the chocolate the more powerful antioxidants it contains.. The flavonoids are concentrated in the cocoa solids (pure chocolate minus cocoa butter).  According to a research study conducted by Cornell University, hot chocolate contains more antioxidants than green tea and wine. Hot chocolate contains a little but more antioxidants than a bar of solid chocolate, which are released when the liquid is heated up. The greater the cocoa content, the better which brings about the chocolate’s health effects.

While chocolate still contains a fair amount of sugar and fat which can be concerning, we can’t over indulge. Everything in moderation is the golden rule even in consuming chocolate. But which type to choose? Be careful with this. Many popular cocoa powders and some dark chocolates are contaminated with high levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal. Because of this factor, one cup of hot chocolate should be the limit. And most chocolate contain milk or milk products. If you are lactose intolerance try to find a product that doesn’t have milk in it.

Also be aware that caffeine and theobromine in cocoa products may cause side effects as well as interfere with the actions of certain drugs. Some people develop migraines from chocolate products. Other might experience an allergic contact dermatitis in people allergic to nickel.

For those of you who can tolerate cocoa you might find it interesting to know that cocoa powder is also called cocoa solids. Which is made from the cacao bean, after removal of the natural fats (cocoa butter). Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidant compounds and flavanols (also called catechins), which also occur in grapes, apples, and teas.

The amount of flavanols in a cocoa-based product depends on multiple factors including plant genetics, where the plant is grown, how the plant is harvested, how the cocoa is processed, and how the product is prepared.  Be aware that that the percentage of cocoa or the percentage cocoa in a chocolate reflects the total amount of cocoa powder plus cocoa butter relative to all other ingredients. The percentage of cocoa in dark chocolate tells you the percentage which is not sugar! However, as manufacturers typically don’t disclose the ratio of cocoa powder to cocoa butter in their chocolates, the percentage of cocoa is only a rough indicator of how much cocoa powder is in a product and, therefore, how flavanol-rich  the chocolate may be. Be aware that the FDA (Federal Dietary Association) has found milk in some dark chocolates.

While nothing is totally pure go ahead and enjoy. Here is a recipe for you to try:

HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE

  • one 13.5 ounce or 1-2/3 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1 – 1/2 ounces 85% dark chocolate in bar form
  • 1 scoop chocolate bone broth protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • TOPPING
  • low sugar marshmallows
  • dash of cinnamon
  • a few drops of peppermint extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, add in coconut or almond milk, dark chocolate bar, bone broth powder, raw cacao powder and maple syrup
  2. Turn heat up to medium-low and let mixture melt.
  3. Take the vanilla bean and slice length-wise in half.
  4. Whisk together hot cocoa mixture until all is melted and well-combined.
  5. Pour in two mugs and top with marshmallows, if you desire. Add a dash of cinnamon to the top. Add a little peppermint extract.
  6. Serve immediately.