By Sophia Power, BA Media, BHScNutMed
What could possibly be better than a hot chocolate on an icy winter day? A hot chocolate with health benefits!
A healthier hot chocolate could be your new daily winter treat to stay warm while also boosting your energy, mood and immune system at the same time. Scroll down for the recipe and to learn more about how the ingredients can benefit you.
How hot chocolate can be healthy
Yes, this hot chocolate takes a couple of minutes to make, but it’s so worth it. Packaged hot chocolates also happen to be full of refined sugar and weird filler ingredients. Why not make your favourite winter warming hot chocolate work overtime for you by keeping you satisfied, healthy and brimming with energy?
These ingredients add so much extra benefit. Let’s take a look…
Cacao - naturally high in magnesium to help with muscle tension, anxiety and sleep, plus high antioxidant levels for overall health.
Maca - among its many reported health benefits, maca is most popular for improving the body’s stress response while also boosting mood, energy and focus. Its slightly sweet, caramel flavour makes it a perfect addition to a hot chocolate.
Medicinal mushrooms - whole scientific studies around medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake, cordyceps, reishi, chaga and lion’s mane have reported mind-blowing benefits - from immune-boosting, disease prevention, healthy memory and brain function and so much more. Medicinal mushrooms can easily become a part of your daily routine in a hot chocolate. If you’re thinking to yourself “mushrooms in a hot chocolate? I don’t think so” - the slightly bitter, earthy tasting mushroom powder actually complements the chocolate flavour perfectly.
MCT oil - made up of medium-chain triglycerides, MCT oil is a source of healthy fats that provide instant energy while also aiding focus. MCT oil can also help with a sense of fullness, making it a helpful tool for weight loss. Since a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system, MCT oil can even boost immunity by supporting healthy populations of gut bacteria.1
Ginger - adding ginger into your hot chocolate not only adds extra warmth but extra health benefits too. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice that can help to reduce pain and muscle soreness. If you’re dealing with a sore throat, nausea or trying to fight off a cold, add ginger into your diet liberally!
Cinnamon - another wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice, cinnamon also helps to support healthy blood sugar balance.
Healthy vegan hot chocolate recipe
You will need:
- 2 cups of your favourite dairy-free milk - I love macadamia or oat for this one
- 2 tablespoons of organic cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon of maca powder
- 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or your sweetener of choice to taste
- 1 teaspoon of medicinal mushroom powder
- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or MCT oil
- ½ teaspoon of ground ginger powder (optional if you like a spicy kick)
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- Add all ingredients to a saucepan and mix together on low heat until combined.
- Pour the hot chocolate mixture into a blender and quickly blend on high for 5-10 seconds until frothy (don’t skip this step!)
- Serve immediately in your favourite mug.
If a daily dose of hot chocolate sounds like your kind of medicine, try adding these mood and health-boosting ingredients to your next cup.
- Rial, S.A., Karelis, A.D., Bergeron, K.F. & Mounier, C. (2016). Gut microbiota and metabolic health: the potential beneficial effects of a medium-chain triglyceride diet in obese individuals. Nutrients, 8(5):281.