When the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing more delightful than a warm drink! It may seem almost too good to be true, but some of your favorite holiday drinks can also be good for you! Here are a few classics that will keep you healthy this holiday season:
Not all hot chocolates are created equal. According to nutritionist Lauren Slayton, MS RD, the key is to use dark chocolate. It’s best to look for cocoa mixes that list dark chocolate as their first ingredient, or melt a bar of dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that consuming three ounces of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate has also been said to produce a calming, soothing effect from the increased serotonin levels – just what you need during the holiday months!
When you’re enjoying a tasty cup of eggnog, the word “health” surely never crosses your mind. To think that something as rich as eggnog can have health benefits would be crazy! Crazy – but true. Calcium is great for keeping strong bones and making it with skim or low-fat milk will cut the calories and fat. In addition to providing a healthy dose of protein, the eggs offer the antioxidant, lutein, which is known for preventing vision problems.
The two main ingredients, apples and cinnamon, are full of health benefits! Cinnamon is particularly beneficial to individuals with Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol thanks to the improvements it makes to glucose and cholesterol levels. A study at Cornell University found that quercetin, a nutrient found in apples, acts as an antioxidant and protects brain cells from damage that triggers specific diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Other studies have discovered apples may protect against colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
It should be no surprise that there’s a ton of health benefits in red wine! Powerful antioxidants found in grapes have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects that might help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Moderate consumption is associated with lower death rates from heart disease, increasing the “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering the risk of heart attacks. According to Cancer Research, red wine could reduce the activity of the enzyme, aromatase, which plays a role in breast cancer.
So as the weather gets colder, start stocking up on all of your warm holiday drinks at your local Sparkle Market!