Is chocolate your friend or foe? People often describe themselves as being “addicted to chocolate”. Of all foods, chocolate is likely the most commonly craved, particularly for women. The winter months seem to heighten these cravings. Many people also express guilt over eating chocolate, assuming it has a negative impact on health.
You may be surprised to learn, chocolate actually has significant health benefits. Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, originating from South America. Mayans historically used it for medicinal purposes. It’s ironic that something we often assume to be a an indulgence actually has more antioxidant power than most "super fruits" (acai, pomegranate,goji berries, etc).
Cocoa improves mood. It’s rich in agents that enhance the production of various feel-good chemicals in the brain, notably serotonin and dopamine. This means that cocoa possesses anti-depressant, mood-elevating properties.
So, you can feel great about eating chocolate and serving up the hot cocoa to your kiddos this winter, right? Yes, but. Cocoa clearly has some impressive health benefits. Though, as with most things, when processed and mixed with other ingredients, the nutritional value diminishes. The chocolate in a Milky Way is off-set by its high sugar & fat content and artificial ingredients to give it a longer shelf life.
For every serving use:
1 cup or mug of milk (1%, almond, soy)
1 to 2 teaspoons of Cacao
2 teaspoons water
2-3 teaspoons of sugar, agave or honey*
Gently heat the water, sugar, cocoa and vanilla over medium heat, stirring until dissolved. Add milk, lower heat and stir. Heat until desired temperature is reached.
Your hot cocoa can be spiced up by adding any of the following during the heating phase:
Cinnamon stick, Orange or Lime Zest, Chile Powder, Nutmeg, Vanilla.