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Hot Cocoa: A Heath Drink?
by Marcia Passos Duffy

I never associated hot cocoa  with good health. It was just a better, lower fat
alternative to an intense craving for, let’s  say, ½ pound of dark chocolate
devoured in one sitting, or a really big slice of Mud Pie.

But recently, hot cocoa has been elevated to a new status:  Health Drink.
Recently, researchers at Cornell University have found that cocoa teems with
antioxidants that prevent cancer.  In fact, cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants
of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea.

This discovery surprised even the researchers:  “If I had made a prediction
before conducting the tests, I would have picked green tea as having the most
antioxidant activity,” says Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food
Science and Technology at the university’s New York State Agricultural
Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, who led the team of researchers in the
study.  

Faced with the choice of drinking red wine, green tea or hot cocoa, Lee suggests
enjoying all three in different parts of the day:  “Personally, I would drink hot
cocoa in the morning, green tea in the afternoon, and a glass of red wine in the
evening.  That’s a good combination,” he says.

However using this good news as an excuse to polish off more chocolate bars is
a no-no: “Although a bar of chocolate exhibits strong antioxidant activity, the
health benefits are still controversial because of the saturated fats present,”
researchers of the study write.  

They explain that cocoa has about one-third of a gram of fat per one cup
serving, compared with the eight grams of fat in a standard-sized 40 gram
chocolate bar.

Okay, so hot cocoa (minus the whipped cream) is a good way to fight cancer,
but can’t you get just as many antioxidants from eating a carrot stick?

Well, yes, any vegetable you pick up at your produce section (particularly
grapes, garlic and spinach) is bound to give you healthy boost of cancer-
fighting antioxidants. But how much fun can you possibly have munching on
garlic cloves while curled up by the fire on a cold winter night?  

So this winter season, drink up your hot cocoa – after all, it’s good for your
health!

Recipes:
Hot Cocoa Mix for Your Pantry
Burdick's Famous Hot Cocoa
Party Hot Cocoa - Makes a Gallon!








About the author:
Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer and the publisher & editor of The
Heart of New England online magazine.  
Hot Cocoa: A Health Drink?
The Heart of New England
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