Hot cocoa or hot chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder is a hot beverage prepared by adding milk or water and sugar if desired, providing warmth on cold winter days. It is thought that this drink was first made by the Mayans 2000 years ago, but the Mayans consumed it cold rather than hot. Mayans added water, red pepper, cornmeal and other ingredients to this beverage drunk at that time other than powdered cocoa. Aztec until the 1400s Having an important place in its culture, the cocoa drink was changed by Spanish explorers after it spread to Europe and hot versions were made. Today, it has a different consistency and variety according to the countries. When he arrived in France in the 17th century, it was used to improve mood and calm anger. Indeed, later modern research found that chocolate lowers the levels of stress hormones secreted in people who are terrified. In this case, the following question arises: Do the health benefits of chocolate also apply to hot cocoa? According to research, this question can be answered “yes”.
Cocoa powders are packed with powerful antioxidants. Studies show that antioxidants fight free radicals, so they can prevent heart disease, cancer, age-related macular degeneration and aging. Superfoods such as acai berries, goji berries, pomegranates and blueberries in trendy diets are full of antioxidants, but plenty of them can be obtained from red wine, coffee, and chocolate. This is one of the reasons why chocolate and hot cocoa drinks stand out. Many studies have revealed that cocoa has beneficial effects on health problems such as insulin level, heart health, memory, and high blood pressure. Here are the benefits of hot cocoa:
Cocoa powder contains fibers and iron. Dark chocolate with 70 to 80 percent cocoa contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins K and A.
Cocoa is rich in antioxidants. According to scientists, the amount of antioxidants in a glass of hot cocoa is 2 times more than the same amount of red wine, 2-3 times more than green tea and 4-5 times more than black tea. It is also important that hot chocolate is hot because the amount of antioxidants released when heated increases. Gallic acid found in hot cocoa is a phenolic compound. This compound, which has antioxidant properties, is used for the treatment of internal bleeding, albuminuria (presence of albumin in the urine, indicating kidney disease) and diabetes. Flavonoids, from reducing inflammation It has been linked to many health benefits ranging from boosting their immune systems. These antioxidants are associated with longer life, weight management, cancer prevention, and more. It makes a difference in this regard, as the proportion of cocoa is higher in dark chocolate. The higher the cocoa percentage, the better. Antioxidants are higher in less processed cocoa powders. This means that while processed cocoa powder is delicious, it is not the healthiest option.
A study conducted in Italy found that chocolate can trigger insulin activity, reducing the risk of diabetes (diabetes). A study conducted in Boston found that an increase in calcium intake can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes over time.
Facilitates Weight Loss
Excess belly fat can be reduced with dairy products, and dark chocolate can slow down the digestive process, creating a feeling of satiety. Hot cocoa can be a fat-burning snack.
Supports Heart Health
Hot chocolate is good for the heart. According to a UK study, milk in hot cocoa can help protect against strokes, and chocolate is richer in antioxidants than green tea. The antioxidants in cocoa and therefore hot chocolate have been associated with heart health, fighting LDL cholesterol, increasing blood flow and reducing blood clotting.
Lowers Blood Pressure
According to a medical study conducted in Germany, dark chocolate, which has a higher content of flavonoids, can reduce high blood pressure. Milk filled with calcium and vitamin D can also lower blood pressure. The two can make the perfect combination together.
Good for the Brain
Some researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered that dark chocolate can protect against damage from stroke, and a study conducted at the University of Virginia has confirmed that milk can help prevent the same.
It has been found that there is a link between hot chocolate and memory enhancement. Drinking 2 cups of hot chocolate a day can also help prevent Alzheimer’s. Flavonoids are thought to be effective against dementia, as they increase blood flow and thus oxygen. As different parts of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need more blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular pairing, can play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Cocoa’s ability to increase blood flow is thought to underlie its memory-enhancing abilities. In 2014, researchers presented the first direct evidence that cocoa consumption can improve cognitive function in a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Researchers eventually found a significant difference in cognitive function by tracking the effects of a high cocoa beverage on the area of the brain called the “dentate gyrus.” When the brains of the subjects participating in the study were imaged, noticeable improvements in the function of the dentate gyrus were found in those who consumed high cocoa and flavanol drinks. A UK-based study found that a large cup of hot chocolate can help develop better math skills.
A study conducted at Cornell University discovered that cocoa contains antioxidants that can help protect against cancer. Milk is a controversial issue when it comes to cancer, but some research has shown that vitamin D and calcium can also prevent cancer.
Good for Cough
Theobromine, found in cocoa, which is the component of chocolate, can help suppress cough. It is said that dairy products can produce sputum, but some studies contest this claim.
Brightens the Skin
Milk contains vitamin A, it is also enriched with vitamin D. These are great compounds for the skin. Another ingredient that is often said to be bad for skin care is chocolate, but studies have found that it contains large amounts of flavonoids that have been found to be beneficial for the skin in various ways.
Contributes to PMS Treatment
When women suffer from PMS (Premenstrual syndrome: premenstrual tension syndrome), they may want to drink a cup of hot chocolate. Chocolate can help with depression, and milk has also been shown to aid relief.
Hot Chocolate Makes You Happy
Chocolate gives a feeling of happiness to those who eat and drink it hot. This delicious beverage frees some neurotransmitters in the brain, making people feel happier and more comfortable. Chocolate feels good because it contains energy-boosting caffeine, mood-boosting serotonin, and relaxing tryptophan.
Commercial, instant hot chocolates are often artificial mixes that will overshadow the benefits of cocoa. For example, cocoa ranks 5th after sugar, vegetable oil and corn syrup on the ingredient label of one of the popular hot chocolate mixtures. In order for hot cocoa to be healthier, it should be prepared at home using unsweetened cocoa powder or 85 percent dark chocolate. For a less fat version, a plant-based milk can be added. It can be sweetened with honey or molasses, but should not be overdosed.
Writer: Muserref Ozdas