National Hot Cocoa Day is Dec. 13, 2017
Learn about the health benefits of hot cocoa and some ideas for livening up your mug of chocolate.
If you live in a climate where winter winds tend to send a chill to your bones and put goosebumps on your arms and legs, then you know just the thing that helps warm you up after you’ve been out in the cold. It’s hot cocoa! National Hot Cocoa day is right around the corner on Dec. 13, 2017.
Did you know there are many health benefits that are associated with cocoa? It’s true! According to The Weather Channel’s “5 Ways Hot Cocoa is Good for Your Health,” cocoa is nutrition, contains antioxidants, promotes heart health, aids in memory and can make you happy. Let’s take a closer look:
- Coca is nutritious. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, cocoa powder is a good source of fiber and iron. Dark chocolate contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin K.
- Coca contains antioxidants. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids. According to Cornell University scientists, cocoa has twice the antioxidants of a glass of red wine and three times as many as found in green tea. Flavonoids have been connected with plenty of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to boosting immune systems, Live Science reports. These antioxidants have been associated with a longer life, weight management, cancer prevention and more.
- Cocoa promotes heart health. According to the American Heart Association, cocoa’s effects on cardiovascular effects are wide-ranging and, overall, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. According to the European Food Information Council, cocoa’s flavanols have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, combating LDL cholesterol, increasing blood flow and reducing blood clotting.
- Cocoa aids memory. A 2013 study found a correlation between drinking hot chocolate and boosted memory, suggesting that drinking two cups a day could help stave off Alzheimer’s.
- Cocoa makes you happy. Chocolate makes you feel good because of its energy-boosting caffeine, mood lightening serotonin and relaxing tryptophan, according to “Why chocolate really is the secret to happiness” in The Washington Post. Chocolate releases neurotransmitters that make you feel comfortable and happy, and can even reduce pain and stress.
If you love hot coca but want to take it to another level, don’t be afraid to add something new to your mug to liven things up. If you have kids, it’s likely they will love being able to pick and choose some of these ideas for jazzing up your hot chocolate, suggested from Start Cooking:
- Ice cream
- Cinnamon extract (nutmeg or vanilla extract, too)
- Orange zest
- Espresso or coffee
- Peppermint stick
- Dark or white chocolate shavings
- Peanut butter
- Habanero pepper or hot sauce
- Hot cherries
- Coconut milk
- Maple syrup
Dec. 13 will be here soon enough and you’ll want to be sure you’re ready. So grab your favorite blanket, cuddle in to watch a movie, find that festive mug and pour yourself a nice, big cup of hot cocoa.
To learn about the positive impact children and families are experience due to Michigan State University Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Reports: “Preparing young children to success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.
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