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Friday, December 02, 2011

Healthy hot cocoa

Natural (not dutched, or processed with alkali) cocoa is chock full of antioxidants. Plenty of recent studies show that even moderate increases in cocoa consumption can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

But most of the ways of eating chocolate are full of sugar and fat. And the forms of chocolate and cocoa we like the best have been processed with alkali (dutched), to make them less bitter -- and that destroys some of the antioxidants.

But if you enjoy a cup of black coffee, you can enjoy a cup of black cocoa.

Just stir a tablespoon of natural unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's or Ghirardellis are easy to find) into eight ounces of warm water or warm milk. Add a little cinnamon if you like, up to 1/8 of a teaspoon, for an extra burst of sweet flavor, and even more antioxidants.

Too bitter? Add some of your favorite low-calorie sweetener, like stevia (truvia and other brands), or your favorite sweetener packet.

This warming drink won't throw off your calorie count or your blood sugar. In fact, it can help your body regulate its blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and help fight arterial disease.