Healthier Homemade Hot Cocoa


I was inspired to share this simple recipe in celebration of National Chocolate Day (yes, that's a thing!) and the first snowfall of the season here in the North Woods- both of which happened recently. 

Hot cocoa is a fun, tasty, warm, and comforting way to enjoy some of the benefits of chocolate and indulge in a treat at the same time.

(scroll down for recipe)

Potential Health Benefits of Cocoa:

  • lowering blood pressure

  • improving blood flow to the heart and brain

  • making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot

  • anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects

  • improved insulin sensitivity

  • stimulates production of healthier microbes in the colon

  • protection from environmental toxins (and help repair damage from free radicals)

  • improved cognitive function

  • decreased fasting blood sugar

  • reduced serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL- "bad cholesterol") and total cholesterol levels


Hot cocoa
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healthy cocoa powder

Not all chocolate is created equal though.  Processing methods can destroy flavonoids and therefore health benefits. 

Healthier forms of chocolate include at least 70% dark chocolate (which has less added fats and sugars than milk chocolate, for example), and minimally processed cocoa powder (avoid cocoa that has undergone Dutch processing— cocoa that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity).


Make Your Own

Making your own hot cocoa "from scratch" using plain cocoa powder rather than a drink mix allows you to control how much and what kind of cocoa (preferably minimally processed), sweetener, and milk you consume. 

Experiment to see how un-sweet you can make your cocoa and have it still be tasty.

Just make sure to keep an eye on your pot of milk (whatever kind of milk you use- dairy milk, coconut milk, nut or soy milk, etc.)— as it gets hot it foams up fast and can boil over quickly if you're not paying attention (ask me how I know).


Fun Additions:

Play around with healthful and delicious additions such as cinnamon sticks or powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, vanilla extract, lavender, cardamom, ginger, orange zest, peppermint extract (or a bit of candy cane)— get creative!

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